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IVhcn I mas in Erance I ruade arrangements 
with my friend Mr. Lo«» IVarren, al that lime tïditor 
of the Kinematograph Weekly, to arrange 
manuscript I scnt hbn for lOublication in book form. 
The manuscriîM bas  no uoay been altered 
any malcrial resleCt , and is in lhe form in 
I origqnally vroge il. 


"" THE WAR'" 








pAG t 
I Reach the First Line Belgian Tronches--And become a Belgian 
Soldier for the Time Bcing--A Night Attack---An Advt'nture 
whilst Filming a Mitrailleuse Outpost--Among the Ruins of 
Ramscapellc--I Leave the Company and Losc my Way in the 
Darkness--A Wclcomc Light and a Long Slecp--How Little 
does the Public know of thc Dangers and Difhcultics a Film 
Operator has to Face . 6 
A Morning of Surprises--The German Positions Bombarded from 
the Sea--Filming the Goumiers in Action--How these Tenacious 
Fighters Prepare for Battle--Goumier Habits and Customs--I 
Take the Chief's Photograph for the First Time--And After- 
wards take Food with Him--An Interesting and Fruitful Adven- 
ture Ends Satisfactorily t 5 
A Dangerous Adventure and What Came of It--A Race Across 
the Sand-dunes--And a Spill in a Shell-hole--The Fate of a 
Spy--A Battle in the Dunes--Of whxch I Secured Some Fine 
Films--A Collision with an Obstructive Mule aa 

In a Trench Coat and Cap I again Run the Gauntlet--A Near 
Squeak--Looldng for Trouble--I Nearly Find It--A Rough 
Ride and a Mud Bath--An Affair of Outposts--I Get Used to 
Crawling--Hot Work at the Guns--I ara Reported Dead--But 
Prove Very Much Alive--And then Receive a Shock--A 
Stern Chase 3 ° 
I Start for the Vosges--Am Arrested on the Swiss Frontier--And 
Released--But Arrested Again--And then Allowed to Go My 
Way--Filming in the Firing Zone--A Wonderful French Charge 
Over the Snow-clad Hills--I Take Big Risks--And Get a 
Magnificent Picture 4 ° 



p&G t 
I ara Appointed an Official War Office Kinematographer--And Start 
for thê Front Line Trênchês--Filming thê German Guns in 
Action--With the Canadians--Picturesque I-lut Settlement 
Among the Poplars--" I-Iyde 19ark Corner "--Shaving by 
Candlclight in Six Inches of Water--Filming in Full View of the 
German Lines, 75 yards away--A ]Big Risk. but a 1Realistic 
Picture 5  
Leave-taking at Charing Cros--A Fruitless Search for Food on 
Christmas Eve--How Tommy XVelcomed the Coming of the 
Festive Season--" Peace On Earth. Good "Vill To Men " to the 
loom of the Big Guns--Filming the Guards" Division--And the 
l'rince of Wales--Coming from a Christmas Service--This Year 
and Iqext 6 

Boxing Day--]But No Pantomime--Life in the Trenches--A Sniper 
at Work---Sinking a Mine Shaft--The Cheery Influence of an 
Irish Padre--A Ccmetery I3ehind the Lines--Pathetic Inscrip- 
tions and Mcmentoes on Dead I-Ieroes' Graves--I Get Into a 
Pretty Warm Corner--And Have Some Difficulty in Getting Out 
Again--]But All's Well that Ends Well . 

A Visit fo the Old German Trenches--Reveals a Scene of Horror 
that Defies Description--Dodging the Shells--I Lose the Handle 
of My Camera--And then Lose My Man--The Effect of Shell-fire 
on a Novice--In the Village of Neuve Chapelle--A Scene of 
Devastation--The Figure of the Lonely Christ 

How I Made a" Hide-up "--And Secured a Fine Picture of the Prince 
Inspecting some Gun-pits--I-Iis Anxiety to Avoid the Camera-- 
And His Subsequent Remarks--i.iow a German ]Block-house ,vas 
Blown to Smithereens--And the Way I Managed to Film it 
Under Fire 

Greeted on Al-rival in the Ruined City o: Ypres by a Furious Fusillade 
--I Film the Cloth Hall and Cathedral, and Have a Narrow 




Escape--A Once t3eautiful Tovn Now Little More Than a 
Heap of Ruins--Arras a City of the Dead--Its Cathedal 
Destroyed--But Cross and Crucifixes Unharmcd 



Filming Within Forty-five Yards of the German Trenches--Watch- 
ing for " Minnies "--Offacers' Quarters--'" Somcthing " ]3egins 
to Happen--An Early Morning Bombardmcnt--Dcvelops lnto 
the Battle of St. Eloi--Vvhich I Film from Our First-Line 
Trench---And Obtain a Fine Picture 




A Very Lively Experience--Choosing a Position for the Camera 
Under Fire--I Get a Taste of Gas--Witness a iNight Attack by 
the Germmxs--Surprise an Officer by My Appcarance in the 
Trencl..s--And Have One of the Narrowest Escapes---But 
Fortunatcly Get Out with iNothing Worse than a Couple of 
Bullcts Through My Cap 



The First Kinematograph Film Taken of the Western Front--And 
How I Took It Whilst Travelling Through the Air ai Eighty 
Miles an Hour--Under Shell-fire--Over Ypres--A Thrilling 
Experience--And a Narrow Escape--A Five Thousand Foot 
Dire Through Space 

Chasing an « Enemy " Acroplane af a Height of I3.5oo Feet--And 
What Came of It--A Dramatic Adventure in which the Pilot 
Played a Big Part--I Get a Nasty Shock--I3ut am Rcassured-- 
A Freezing Experience--Filming the Earth as we Dived Almost 
Perpendicularly--A Picture that would Defy the Most Ardent 
Futurist fo Paint 



The Threshold of Tremendous Happenings--General --'s Speech 
to His Men on the Eve of t3attle--Choosing My Position for 
Filming the " t3ig Push "--Under Shell-fire--A Race of Shrieking 
Devils--Fritz's Way of " Making Love "--I Visit the " White 
City "--And On the Way have Anothcr Experience of Gas 



The General's Speech to the Fusiliers Before Going Into Action-- 
Filming the 5-inch HowitzersmA Miniature Earthquakem 
" The Day " is Postponed--Keeping Within " The Limits "--A 
Surprise Meeting in the Trenches--A Reminder of Other Days--- 
I Get Into a Tight Corner--And Have An Unpleasantly Hot 
Experience--I Interview a Trench Mortar--Have a Lively 
Quarter of an HourAnd Then Get Off 135 
A Firework Display Heralds the Arrival ot " The Day "How the 
Boys Spent Their Last Few Hours in the Trenches--Rats as 
13edfcllows--I Make an Early Start--And Get Through a Mine- 
shaft into " No Man's Land "The Great Event Draws Near-- 
Anxious Moments--The Men Fix Bayonets--And Wait the 
Word of Command to" Go Over the Top " 15  
A Mighty Convulsion Signalises the Commencement of Operations-- 
Thon Out Boys " Go Over the Top "--A Fine Film Obtained 
whilst Shclls Raincd AroundMe--My Apparatus is Struck--But, 
Thank Goodness. the Camcra is Saie--Arrival ot the Wounded-- 
" Ara I in the Picture ? " they ask 162 
A Glorious Band of Wounded Heroes Stagger Into Line and Answer 
the Call--I Visit a Stricken Friend in a Dug-out--On the Way 
fo La Boisselle I Cet Lost in the Trenches--And *vVhilst Filming 
Unexpectedly Corne Upon the German LineI Have a Narrow 
Squeak of Being Crumped--But Get Away Safely--And Inter 
Commandcer a Couple of German Prisoners to Act as Porters 69 
The Process Described in DetailDeveloping the Negative--Its 
Projection on thc Screen--CuttingoEitling--Joining--Printing 
the Positive--Building Up the Story--lt is Submitted to the 
Military Censors at General Headquarters--And After Being Cut 
and Approved by Them--Is Ready for Public Exhibition . 17 8 
Three Times I Try and Fail to Reach this Stronghold of the Dead-- 
Which Has Been Described as " Hell on Earth "--At a Dressing 
Station under Fire--Smoking Two Cigarettes at a Time to Keep 
off the Flies--Some Amusing Trench Conversations b¥ Men who 
had Lost OEheir Way--I Turn in for the Night--And Have a 
Dead Bosche for Company 8 3 

Looking for " Thrills "And How I Got Them--I Pass Through 
" Sausage Valley," o the Way to PoziresYou lIay and you 
Might--What a Tommy Found in a German Dug-outlIow 
Fritz Got «' Some of His Own " Back--Taking Pictures in What 
Was Once Pozières" Proois Ready To-morrow " 

His Maiesty's Arrival ai Boulogne--At G.H.Q.--General Burstall's 
Appreciation--The King on the t3attlefield oI Fricourt--Within 
Range oi the Enemy's Guns---His Maiesty's Joke Outside a 
German Dug-out--His Memento trom a Hero's Grave--His 
Visit to a Casualty Clearing Station---The King and the Puppy-- 
Once in Disgrace--lgow a Hospital Mascot 

An Historie Gathering--In which King and Presidcnt, Joflre and 
Haig Take Part--His Majesty and the Little French Girl--I Am 
Permitted to Film the King and His Distinguished Guests--A 
Visit to the King of the Belgians---A Cross-Channel Journey-- 
And Home 

Something in the Wind--An Urgent Message to Report at Head- 
quartersAnd What Came OI It--I Hear tor the First Time 
of the " Hush I Hush I "--And Try to Discover What It Is-- 
A WonderIul lXlight Scene--Dawn Breaks and Reveals a 
Marvellous Monster--What Is It ? 

A Weird-looking Object Makes Ifs First Appearance Upon the 
Battlefield--And Surprises Us Almost as Much as It Surprised 
Fritz--A Death-dealing Monster that Did the Most Marvellous 
Things--And Left the Ground Strewn with Corpses--Realism 
of the Tank Pictures 

An AwIul Specimen ot War Devastation--Preparing tor an Advance 
--Giving the Bosche " Jumps "--Breakfast Under Fire--My 
Camera Fails Me Just Betore the Opening of the Attack--But I 
Mariage fo Set it Right and Get Some Fine Pictures--Our Guns 
" Talkï" Like the Crack of a Thousand Thunders--A Wonderful 









Inspecting a Tank that xvas Hors de Combat--All that was Left of 
Mouquct Farm--A German Underground Fortress--A Trip in 
the Bowels of the Earth--A Weird and Wonderful Experience . 


A Choppy Cross-Channel TripI ]ndu]ge in a Revcrie--And Try to 
Pecr Into the Future---Af Headq uartcrs Again--Trying to Cross 
the Hiver Somme on an lmprovised Raft--In Peronne Airer the 
German Evacuation--A Specimcn of Hunnish " Kultur '" 

25 ° 

Expioring the Unknown--A Silence That Couid be Felt--In the 
Village of Villcrs-Carboncl--A Car and lts Kittcns in an Odd 
Retrcat--Brooks' Penchant for " Souvenirs "The First Troops 
to Cross the Somme 259 
The Enemy Destroy Everything as They Go--Clcaring Away the 
Débris of the Battlcfield--And Repairing the Damage Done by 
the Huns--An Eormous lVIine CraterA 1Reception by Frcnch 
Peasants" Les Anglais ! Les Anglais  "---Stuck on the 1Road 
fo Bovincourt 266 

Possibilities--Food for Famished Viilagers---Meeting the Mayoress 
of Bovincourt--Who Presides at a Wonderiul Impromptu 
Ceremony--A Scrap Outside VraignesA Church Full of 
Refugees--A True Pal--A Mcal with the Mayor of Bierne 

The "Hindenburg" Line--A Diabolical Piece of Yandalism-- 
Brigadier H.Q. in a Cellar--A Fight in Mid-air--Xaiting for 
the Taking of St. Quentin--L'Envoi 



JULY IST, I916 Fro,tispiers 
OF WAR 52 
GRAPHER, MAY, 1916 . 




OVIERS, Jç 3Rb D 4, 96 
GE JovvR D GEER Foc 






-, ATE has hot been unkind to me. I have had 
my chances, particularly during the last 
1 two or three years, and--well, I have done 
my best to make the most of what has corne my way. 
That and nothing more. 
How I came fo be entrusted with the important 
commission of acting as Official War Office Kine- 
matographer is an interesting story, and the first 
few chapters of this book recount the sequence of 
events that led up to my being given the appoint- 
Let me begin by saying that I ara not a writer, 
I ara just a " movie man," as they called me out 
there. My mind is stored full to overflowing with 
the impressions of all I have seen and heard ; recol- 
lections of adventures crowd upon me thick and fast. 
Thoughts flash through my mind, and almost tumble 
over one another as I strive to record them. Yet at 
times, when I take pen in hand to write them down, 
they seem to elude me for the moment, and make 
the task more difficult than I had anticipated. 
In the following chapters I have merely aimed at 
.setting .down, in simple language, a record of my 
lmpresslons, so far as I can recall them, of what I 
have seen of many and varied phases of the Great 


Drama which has now been played to a finish on the 
other side of the English Channel. Most of those 
recollections were penned at odd moments, soon 
after the events chronicled, when they were still 
fresh in mind, often within range of the guns. 
It was my good fortune for two years fo be one 
of the ONcial War Office Kinematographers. I vas 
privileged fo move about on the Western Front with 
considerable freedom. My actions were un- 
trammelled; I had my instructions to carry out; 
my superiors to satisfy; my work to do; and I 
endeavourcd to do all that has been required of me 
fo the best of my ability, never thinking of the cost, 
or consequences, to myself of an adventure so long 
as I secured a pictorial record of the deeds of out 
heroic Army in France. I have striven to make my 
pictures worthy of being preserved as a permanent 
memorial of the greatest Drama in history. 
That is the keynote of this record. As an Official 
Kinematographer I have striven to be, and I have 
tried all the rime to realise that I was the eyes of 
the millions of my fellow-countrymen at home. In 
my pictures I have endeavoured to catch something 
of the glamour, as well as the awful horror of it all. 
I have caught a picture here, a picture there; a 
scene in this place, a scene in that ; and all the rime 
at the back of my mind has always been the thought : 
" That will give them some idea of things as they 
are out here." My pictures have never been taken 
with the idea of merely making pictures, nor with 
the sole idea, as some people think, of merely prox-id- 
ing a " thrill." I regarded my task in a different 
light fo that. To me has been entrusted the task of 
secufing for the enlightenment and education of the 
people of to-day, and of future generations, such a 
picture as will stir their imaginations and thrill 
their hearts with pride. 
This by way of introduction. Now to proceed 

with my task, the telling of the adventures of a 
kinematograph camera man in war-time. 
From my early days I was always interested in 
photography, and boyish experiments eventually 
led me along the path to my life's vocation. In rime 
I took up the study of kinematography, and j oined 
the staff of the Clarendon Film .Company (of London 
and Croydon), one of the ploneer firms in the 
industry. There I learned much and ruade such 
.progress that in rime I was entrusted with the film- 
lng of great productions, which cost thousands of 
pounds to make. From there I went to the Gaumont 
Company, and I vas in the service of this great 
Anglo-French film organisation when war broke 
During the early days of the autumn of 1914. I 
was busily occupied in fi.lming various scenes in 
connection with the war in different parts of the 
country. One day when I was at the London office 
of the Company I was sent for by the Chief. 
" We want a man to go out to Belgium and get 
some good ' stuff.' [Stuff, let me say, is the technical 
or slang terre for film pictures.] How would you 
like to go ? " 
" Go ? " I asked. " I'm ready. When ? Now ? " 
" As soon as you like." 
" Right, I'm ready," I said, without a moment's 
hesitation, little thinking of the nature of the 
adventure upon which I was so eager to embark. 
And so it came about. Provided with the neces- 
sary cash, and an Aeroscope camera, I started off 
next day, and the following chapters record a few of 
my adventures in search of pictorial material for the 



1 Rt.ach the First Line Belgian Trenches--And becomc a I3elgian 
Soldier for the Time 13eing--A Night Attack--An Adventure 
whilst Filming a Mitrailleuse Outpost--Among thc luins of 
Rarnscapclle--I Lcave thc Company and Lose my Way in the 
Darkncss--A 'clcome Light and a Long Slcep--Hcw Little 
docs the Public know of thc and DifficulLies a Film 
Operator has te Face. 

EAVING London, I crossed te France. I 
arranged, as far as possible, te get through 
from Calais te Furnes, and with the greatest 
of good luck I Inanaged it, arriving at Iny destination 
at eleven o'clock at night. As usual, it was raining 
Starting out next day for the front line, I reached 
the district whcre a battalion was resting--I was 
allowed in their quarters. Addressing one of the inen, 
I asked if he could speak English. " Non, monsieur," 
and making a sign te Ine te remain he hurried off. 
Back came the fellow with an oflïcer. 
" What de you want, monsieur ? " said he in fine 
" You speak English well," I replied. 
" Yes, monsieur, I was in England for four years 
previous te the war." Se I explained my position. 
" I want te accolnpany you te the trenches te take 
solne kinelna fillns." 
After exchanging a few words he took me te his 
superior officer, who extended every courtesy te me. 
I explained te hiln what I was desirous of doing. 
" But it is extraordinary, monsieur, that you should 

take such risks for pictures. You may in ail prob- 
ability get shot." 
" Possibly, sir," I replied, " but fo obtain genuine 
scenes one must be absolutely in the front line." 
" Ah, you English," he said, " you are extra- 
ordlnaCre." Suddenly taking me by the arm, he led 
me to an outhouse. At the door we met his Captain. 
Introducing me, he began fo explain my wishes. 
By the looks and the smiles, I knew things were going 
well for me. 
Calling the interpreter, the Captain said, " If you 
accompany my men to the trenches you may get 
killed. You must take ail risks. I cannot be held 
responsible, remember!" And with a smile, he 
turned and entered the house. 
Hardly realising my good fortune, I nearly 
hugged my new friend, the Lieutenant. 
" Monsieur," I said, saluting, "I ara un Belge 
soldat pro rem." 
Laughingly he told me to get my kit ready, and 
from a soldier who could speak English I borrowed 
a water-bottle and two blankets. Going round to 
the back of the farm, I came upon the test of the 
men being served out with coffee from a copper. 
Awaiting my tutu, I had my water-bottle filled; 
then the bread rations were served out with tinned 
herrings. Obtaining my allowance, I stowed it 
away in my knapsack, rolled up my blanket and 
fixed it on my back, and was ready. Then the 
" Fall in " was sounded. What a happy-go-lucky 
lot! No one would have thought these men were 
going into battle, and that many of them would 
probably hot return. This, unfortunately, turned 
out to be only too true. 
In my interest in the scene and anxiety to film it, 
I was forgetting to put my own house in order. 
"What if I don't corne back ? " I suddenly thought. 
Begging some paper, I wrote a letter, addressed to 

my firm, telling them whcre I had gone, and where 
to call at Fumes for my films in the event of my 
being shot. Addressîng it, I left it in charge of an 
officer, to be posted if I did not return, and requested 
that if anything happened to me my stuff should 
be left at my café in Fumes. Shaking me by 
the hand, he said he sincerely hoped it would not be 
necessary. Laughingly I bade him adieu. Falling 
in with the other men we started off, with the cheers 
and good wishes of those left behind ringing in our 
It was still raining, and, as we crossed the fields of 
mud, I began to feel the weight of my equipment 
pressing on my shoulders, which with my camera 
and spare films made my progress very slow. Many 
a rime during that march the men offered fo help 
me, but, that they had quite enough 
to do in carrylng their ovn load, I stubbornly 
On we went, the roar of the guns getting nearer : 
over field after field, fully eighteen inches deep in 
mud, and keeping as close to hedges as possible, 
fo escape detection from hostile aeroplanes. Near a 
bridge we were stopped by an oftîcer. 
" What's the marrer ? " I asked of my interpreter. 
Not knowing, he went fo enquire. 
An order was shouted. The whole regiment 
rushed for cover fo a hedge which ran by the road- 
side. I naturally followed. My friend told me that 
the Germans had sent up an observation balloon, 
so we dare not advance until nightfall, or they would 
be sure to sec us and begin shelling our column 
before we arrived at the trenches. In the rain we 
sat huddled close together. Notwithstanding the 
uncomfortable conditions, I was very thmkful for 
the rest. Night came, and we got the word fo start 
again. Progress was becoming more diftîcult than 
ever, and I only kept myself from many a rime 



falling headlong by clinging on to my 
companion ; he did likevise. 
Ye gods ! vhat a night, and vhat a sight ! Rain- 
ing hard, a strong wind blowing, and the thick, 
black, inky darkness every now and then illumin- 
ated by the flash of the guns. Death vas certainly 
in evidence to-night. One fclt it. The creative 
genius of the weirdest, imaginative artist could hot 
have painted a scene of death so truthfully. The 
odour arising from dccaying bodies in the ground 
was at times almost overw.helming. 
We had been converslng generally during the 
march, but nov vord was passed that we vere not 
fo speak under any circumstances, hot until we were 
in the trenches. A whispered order came that evcry 
man must hold on to the comrade in front of him, 
and bear to the leff. Reaching the trench allotted 
to us, we vent along it in single file, up to our knees 
in water. Sometimes a plank had been thrown 
along it, or bricks, but generally there was nothing 
but mud to plough through. 
" Halt ! " came the command fo the section I was 
with. " This is our shelter, monsieur," said a 
Gropingly, I followed the speaker on hands and 
knees. The shelter vas about xo_ feet long, 3 feet 
6 inches high, the saine in width, and ruade of old 
boards. On the top, outside, was about 9 inches of 
earth, to render it as far as possible shrapnel-proof. 
On the floor were some boards, placed on bricks and 
covered with soddened straw. There was j ust 
enough room for four of us. 
Rolling ourselves in our blankets we lay down, 
and by the light of an electric torch we ravenously 
ate our bread and herrings. I enjoyed that simple 
meal as rnuch as the finest dinner I have ever had 
placed before me. Whilst eating, a messenger came 
and warned us to be prepared for an attack. Heavy 

rifle-fire was taking place, both on the right and left 
of out position. 
" Well," thought I, " this is a good start ; they 
might have waited for daylight, I could then film 
their proceedings." At any rate, if the attack came, 
I hoped it would last through the next day. 
Switching off the light, we lay down and awaited 
events. But not for long. The order came to man 
the trench. Out xve tumbled, and took up out 
positions. Suddenly out of the blackness, in the 
direction of the German positions, came the rattle of 
rifle-fire, and the bullcts began to 'histle overhead. 
Keeping as low as possible, we replied, firing in 
quick succcssion at the flashes of the enemy rifles. 
This continued th.roughout the night. 
Towards mormng, a fog settled down, which 
blocked out out vlev of each other, and there 
vas a lull in the fighting. At midday the attack 
started again. Taking my apparatus, I filmed a 
section of Belgians in action. Several rimes bullets 
vhistled unpleasantly near my head. Passing along 
the trench, I filmed a mitrailleuse battery in action, 
which was literally moxving down the Germans as 
fast as they appeared. Then I filmed another 
section of men, while the bullets were flying all 
around them. Several could not resist looking round 
and laughing at the camera. 
Whilst thus engaged, several shells fell within 
thirty feet of me. Tvo failed to explode; another 
exploded and sent a lump of mud full in my face. 
With great spluttering, and I must adroit a little 
svearig, I quickly cleaned it off. Then I filmed 
a large shell-hole filled with vater, caused by the 
explosion of a German " Jack Johnson." 
The diameter was 28 feet across, and, roughly, 
6 feet deep in the centre. At the other end of the 
line I filmed a company damming the Canal, to turn 
it into the German trenches. 


Then I cautiously made my way back, and filmed 
a section being served with hot coffee while under 
tire. Coming upon some men warming themselves 
round a bucket-stove, I joined the circle for a little 
warmth. How comforting it was in that veritable 
morass. Even as we chatted we were subj ected to 
a heavy shrapnel attack, and the way we all scuttled 
to the trench huts was a sight for the gods. It was 
one mad scramble of laughing soldiers. Plunk-- 
plunk--plunk--came the shells, not 20-25 feet from 
where we were siNing by the tire. Six shells fell in 
out position, one failed to explode. I had a bet with 
a Belgian officer that it was 30 feet from us. He bet 
me it was 40 feet. Not to be done, I roughly 
measured off a yard stick, and lc[t the shclter of the 
trench to measure the distance. It turned out to be 
28 feet. Just as I had finished, I heard three more 
shells corne shrieking towards me. I simply dived 
for the trench, and luckily reached it just in time. 
Towards evening out artillery shelled a farm-house 
about three-quarters of a mile distant, where the 
Germans had three guns hidden, and through the 
glasses I watched the shells drop into the building 
and literally blow it to pieces. Unfortunately, it 
was too far off to film it satisfactorily. 
That night was practically a repetition of the 
previous one. The trench was attacked the greater 
part of the time, and bullets continually spattered 
against the small iron plate. 
Next morning I decided to try and film the 
mitrailleuse outpost on a little spot of land in the 
ttoods, only connected by a narrow strip of grass-land 
just high enough to be out of reach of the water. 
Still keeping low under cover of the trenches, I 
ruade my way in that direction. Several officers 
tried to persuadê me not to go, but knowing it 
would make an excellent scene, I decided to risk it. 
On the side of the bank nearest out front line the 

ground sloped at a more abrupt angle, the distance 
from the trench to the outpost being about sixty 
yards. Rushing over the top of the parapet, I got 
to the edge of the grass road and crouched down. 
The water up to my knees, I made my way carefully 
along. Twice I stumbled over dead bodies. At last 
I reached the outpost safely, but during the last few 
yards I must bave raised myself a little too high, 
for the next minute several bullets splashed into the 
water where I had been. 
The outpost was very surprised when I ruade my 
appearance, and expressed astonishment that I had 
not been shot. "A miss is as good as a mlle," I 
laughingly replied, and then I told them I had corne 
to film them at v:ork. This I proceeded to do, and 
got an excellent scene of the mitrailleuse in action, 
and the other section loading up. The frightful 
slaughter done by these guns is indescribable. 
Nothing can possibly lire under the concentrated 
tire of these weapons, as the Germans found to their 
cost that day. 
Af ter getting my scenes, I thanked the officer, 
and was about to make my way back ; but he for- 
bade me fo risk it, telling me to wait until night 
and return under cover of the darkness. To this I 
agreed, and that night left the outpost with the others 
when the relief party came up. 
Shortly after news was received that we were to 
be relieved from duty in the trenches for the next 
forty-eight hours ; the relief column was on frs way 
to take our places. I was delighted, for I had been 
wet through during the days and nights I had been 
there, but was fully satisfied that I had got some 
real lire films. Hastily packing up my equipment, 
I stood waiting the signal to more off. At last the 
relief came up. Holding. each other's hands, we 
carefully made our way m Indian file along the 
trench, on to the road, and into Ramscapelle. 




17EBRUAR'$" AND _MARCII, 1915 

What a terrible sight i was! The skeletons of 
houses stood grim and gaunt, and the sound of the 
wind rushing through the ruins was like the moaning 
of the spirits of the dead inhabitants crying aloud 
for vengeance. The sounds increased in volume as 
we neared this scene of awful desolation, and the 
groans became a crescendo of shrieks which, com- 
bined with the crash of shell-fire, made one's blood 
run cold. 
Leaving the ruins behind we gained the main road, 
and on a.rriving at the bridge where we had stopped 
on our j ourney out, I parted with the company, 
thinking to make my way to a café by a short cut 
over some fields. I wished to heaven afterwards 
that I had not done so. I cut across a ditch, feeling 
my way as much as possible with a stick. But I had 
not gone far before I knew I had lost my way. The 
tain was driving pitilessly in my face, but I stumbled 
on in the inky darkness, often above my knees in 
thick clay mud. Several times I thought I should 
never reach the road. It was far worse than being 
under tire. 
I must have staggered along for about two miles 
when I perceived a light ahead. Never was sight 
more welcome. Remember, I had about fifty to 
sixty pounds weight on my back, and having had 
little or no sleep for rive nights my physical strogth 
was at a low ebb. It seemed hours before I reached 
that house, and when at last I got there I collapsed 
on the floor. 
I struggled up again in a few minutes, and asked 
the bewildered occupants to give me hot coffee, 
and after resting for an hour, I marie again for Furnes 
reaching it in the early hours of the morning. 
Going to my café, I went to bed, and slept for 
eighteen hours ; the following day I packed up and 
returned to London. 
A day or two afterwards I was sitting comfortably 



in a cushioned chair in the private theatre at our 
London office watching these selfsame scenes being 
projected upon the screen. Ah! thought I, how 
little does the great public, for whom they are 
tended, know of the difficulties and dangers, the 
trials and tribulations, the kinematograph camera 
man expcrienccs in order to obtain these pictures. 



A Morning of Surprises--The German Positions ]3ombarded Irom 
the Sea--Filming the Goumiers in Action--I-Iov these Tenacious 
Fighters Prepare for ]3attle--Goumier Habits and Customs--I 
Take the Chief's Photograph for the First Time--And AIter- 
vards take Food with Him--An Intercsting and Fruittul Adven- 
ture Ends SatisIactorily. 

NCE more I went to Furnes, and while 
sipping my coffee at the café I heard a 
remark made about the Goumiers (the 
Arab horsemen employed by the French as scouts). 
Quickly realising the possibilities in a film of such a 
body of men, I ruade enquiries of the speakers as to 
their whereabouts. 
" Ah, monsieur, they are on the sand-dunes near 
Nieuport. They are veritable fiends, monsieur, 
with the Bosches, who run away from them like cats. 
They are terrible fighters." 
After such a gloving account, I thought the sooner 
I interviewed these fighters the better. 
Starting out next morning, I ruade a bee-line for 
the coast. 
I soon began to hear the sharp crackle of rire-tire, 
and artillery on my right opened tire on the German 
position, and then the heavy boom, boom of the 
guns from the sea. Looking in that direction, I 
discerned several of our battleships opening tire, 
the shells giving a fearful shriek as they passed 
overhead. The Germans were certainly in for it that 
Keeping along the bottom of the dunes, I observed 

a Goumier encampment in the distance. At that 
moment there came a rasping voice on my. right. 
"Halt!" This certainly was a mornmg of 
" Ah," I said, wffh a laugh, " you startled me." 
"I am sorry, monsieur," he said. " The pass- 
word, if you please ? " 
" It is not necessary," I replied. "I wish to 
speak to your officer. I will go by myself to the 
officer in charge, it is not necessary for you to leave 
your post. Direct me to Headquarters, and tell me 
your captain's naine." 
" Captain , monsieur. He is billeted in that 
bouse which is half destroyed by shell-fire. Be 
careful, monsieur, and keep low, or you will draw 
the tire on you." He saluted, and turned back to 
his post. 
Making straight for the ruined house in question, 
I observed a sentry on guard at the door. This, I 
perceived, led to a cellar. I asked to sec the Captain. 
The man saluted and entered the house, appearing 
in a few minutes with his ctfief. I saluted, and bade 
him " good morning," extending my hand, which 
he grasped in a hearty handshake. I straightway 
explained my business, and asked him for his co- 
operation in securing some interesting films of the 
Goumiers in action. 
He replied that he would be glad to assist me as 
far as possible. 
" You will greatly hclp me, sir," I said, " if you 
can roughly give me their location." 
" That I cannot do," he replied, " but follow my 
directions, and take your chance. I will, however, 
accompany you a short distance." 
We started out, keeping as much to the seashore 
as possible. 
" Keep low,'" the Captain said, " the place is 
thick with Bosche snipers." I certainly needed no 

second warning, for I had experienced those gentry 
before. " Out Goumiers are doing splendid work 
here on the dunes. Itis, of course, like home to 
them among the sand-heaps." 
Out conversation was suddenly cut short by the 
shriek of a shell coming in out direction. Simul- 
taneously we fell fiat on the sand, and only iust in 
rime, for on the other side of the dune the shell fell 
and exploded, shaking the ground like a miniature 
earthquake and throwing clouds of sand in our 
" They have started on our encampment again," 
the Captain said, "but our huts are quite impervious 
to their shells ; the sand is finer than armourplate." 
Several more shells came hurtling overheard, but 
fell some distance belfind us. Looking over the top 
of the dune, I expected to see an enormous hole, 
caused by the explosion, but judge my surprise on 
seeing hardly any difference. The sides of the 
cavity had apparently fallen in again. A short 
distance further on the Captain said he would leave 
" You can start now," and he pointed in the 
distance to a moving object in the sand, crawling 
along on its stomach for all the world like a shake. 
" I will go," he said, " and if you see the Chief of the 
Goumiers, tell him I sent you." With a handshake 
we parte& I again turned to look at the Goumier 
scout, his movements fascinated me. Keeping low 
under the top of the dune, I made for a small hill, 
from which I decided to film him. Reaching there, 
I did so. 
I then saw, going in opposite directions, two more 
scouts, each proceeding to crawl slowly in the same 
fashion as the first. 
" This film certainly will be unique," I thought. 
Who could imagine that within half an hour's ride 
of this whirling sand, xàth full-blooded Arabs mov- 


ing about upon it, the soldiers of Belgium are fighting 
in two feet of mud and water, and bave been doing 
so for months past. No one would think so to look 
at it. 
A rattle of musketry on my right served as a hint 
that there were other scenes to be secured. Making 
my way in the direction of the sound, I came upon 
a body of Goumiers engaged in sniping at the 
Germans. I filmed them, and was just moving 
away when the interpreter of the company stop.ped 
and questioned me. I told him of my prevlous 
conversation vith the Cptain, vhich satisfied him. 
" Well," he said, " you are just in time to catch 
a troop going off on a scouting expedition," and he 
led the way to a large dune looking down on the sea, 
and there just moving off was the troop. 
What a magnificent picture they marie, sitting on 
their horses. They seemcd to be part of them. 
Veritable black statues they looked, and their 
movements were like a finely tensioned spring. 
Hastily filming the troop, I hurried across and 
succeeded in obtaining some scenes of another 
detachment proceeding further on the flank, and as 
they wound in and out up the sand-hills, I managed 
to get into a splendid point of vantage, and filmed 
them coming towards me. Their wild savage 
huzzas, as they passed, were thrilling in the extreme. 
Looking round, I perceived a curious-looking group 
a short distance away, going through what appeared 
to be some devotional ceremony. 
Hastening down the hill, I crossed to the group, 
which turned out to be under the command of the 
Chief of the Goumiers himself, who was going 
through a short ceremony with some scouts, previous 
to their meeting the Germans. It was quite im- 
pressive. Forming the four men up in line, the 
Chier gave each of them instructions, waving signs 
and symbols over their heads and bodies, then with 

a chant sent them on their j ourney. The actual 
obeisance was too sacred in itself fo film. I was told 
by the interpreter afterwards that he was glad I did 
hot do so, as they would have been very wrath ? 
A few words about the customs of the Goumiers 
may hot be out of place. These men are the aris- 
tocracy of the Algerian Arabs ; men of independent 
means in their own land. At the outbreak of war 
they patriotically combined under their chief, and 
offered themselves to the French Government, 
which gladly accepted their services for work on the 
sand-dunes of Flanders. The troop bore the whole 
cost of their outfit and transport. They brought 
their own native transport system with them. The 
men obey none but their chief, at whose bidding 
they would, I believe, even go through Hell itself. 
All arguments, quarrels, and discussions in the troop 
are brought before the Chief, whose word and judg- 
ment is law. 
On the dunes of Northern Flanders they had their 
own encampment, conducted in their own native 
style. They looked after their horses with as much 
care as a fond mother does her child. The harness 
and trappings were magnificently decorated with 
beautiful designs in mother-of-pearl and gold, and 
the men, when astride their horses and garbed in 
their long flowing white burnouses, looked the very 
personification of dignity. The Chief never handles 
a rifle, it would be beneath his position to do so. 
He is the Head, and lires up toit in every respect 
I filmed him by the side of his horse. It was the 
first time he had been photographed. 
Retuming to the point where the scouts were 
leaving, I decided to follow close behind them, on 
the chance of getting some good scenes. Strapping 
my camera on my back, and pushing a tuft of grass 
under the strap, fo disguise it as much as possible 


if viewed from the front, I crawled after them. One 
may think that crawling on the sand is easy; well, 
all I can say to those who think so is, " Try it." I 
soon round it was not so easy as it looked, especially 
under conditions where the raising of one's body 
two or three inches above the top of the dune might 
be possibly asking for a bullct through it, and draw- 
ing a concentrated tire in one's direction. 
I had crawled in this fashion for about 15o yards, 
when I heard a shell corne shrieking in my direction. 
With a plunk it fell, and exploded about forty feet 
away, choking me with sand and hall blinding me for 
about rive minutes. The acrid fumes, too, which 
came from it, seemed to tighten my throat, making 
respiration very difficult for some ten minutes after- 
wards. Cautiously looking round, I tried to locate 
the othcr scouts, but nowhere could they be seen. I 
crawled for another thirty yards or so, but still no sign 
of them. Deciding that if I continued by myself I 
had everything to lose and nothing to gain, I con- 
cluded that discretion was the better part of valour. 
Possibly the buzzing sensation in my throat, and the 
smarting of my eyes, helped me in coming to that 
decision, so I retraced my steps, or rather crawl. 
.Getting back to the encampment, I bathed my eyes 
n water, which quickly soothed them. 
In a short rime news came in that the scouts were 
returning. Hurrying to the spot indicated, I was 
just in rime to film them on their arrival. The 
exultant look on their faces told me that they had 
done good work. 
I then filmed a general view of the encampment, 
and several other interesting scenes, and was just 
on the point of departing when the Chier asked me 
to partake of some food with him. Being very 
hungry, I accepted the invitation, and afterwards, 
over a cup of coffee and cigarettes, I obtained through 
an interpreter some very interesting information. 


The night being now well advanced, I bade the 
Chief adieu, and striking out across the dunes I 
made for Fumes. The effect of the star-shells sent 
up by the Germans was very wonderful. They shed 
a vivid blue light all round, throwing everything up 
with startling clearness. 
After about a mlle I was suddenly brought up by 
the glitter of a sentry's bayonet. " Password, 
monsieur." Flashing a lamp in my face, the man 
evidently recognised me, for he had seen me with 
his officer that day, and the next moment he 
apologised for stopping me. " Pardon, monsieur," 
he said. " Pass, Monsieur Anglais, pardon ! " 
Accepting his apologies, I moved off in the 
direction of Fumes, where, after reviewing the 
events of the previous days, I came fo the conclusion 
that I had every reason fo be hankful that I had 
once more returned from an interesting and fruitful 
adventure with a whole skin. 



A I)angcrous Adventurc and hat Came of It--A Race Across 
the Sand-dunes--And a Spill in a Shell-Hole--Thc Fate of a 
Spy--A I3attle in the Dunes--Of which I Secured Some Fine 
Films--A Collision with an Obstructive Mule. 

l ARRIVED at Oost-Dunkerque, which place I 
decided to use as a base for this journey, 
chiefly because it was on the main route to 
Nieuport Bain. Having on my previous visit 
proceeded on foot, and returned successfully, I 
decided that I should go by car. To get what I 
required meant that I should have to pass right 
through the French lines. 
Finding out a chauffeur who had previously 
helped me, I explained my plans to him. 
" Well, monsieur," he said, "I will try and help 
you, but for me it is hot possible to get you through. 
I ara stationed here indefinitely, but I have a friend 
who drives an armoured car. I will ask him to do 
it." We then parted ; I was to meet him with his 
friend that night. 
I packed my things as close as possible, tying two 
extra spools of film in a package round my waist 
under my coat, put on my knapsack, and drew my 
Balaclava helmet well down over my chin. 
Anxiously I awaited my friends. Seven o'clock-- 
eight o'clock--nine o'clock. " Were they unable to 
corne for me ? " "Was there some hitch in the 
arrangement ? " These thoughts flashed through my 
mind, when suddenly I heard a voice call behind me. 
" Monsieur, monsieur ! " 


Turning, I saw my chauffeur friend beckoning to 
me. Hurrying forward, I asked if all was well. 
" Oui, monsieur. I will meet you by the railway 
This was the beginning of an adventure which I 
shall always remember. I had been up at the bridge 
some two minutes, when the armoured car glided up. 
" Up, monsieur," came a voice, and up I got. 
Placing my camera by the side of the mitrailleuse, 
I sat by my chauffeur, and we started off for the 
French lines. 
Dashing along roads covered with shell-holes, 
I marvelled again and again at the man's wonderful 
driving. Heaps of times we escaped a smash-up by a 
On we went over the dunes; the night was 
continuously lighted up by flashes from the big guns, 
both French and German. We were pulled up with 
a jerk, which sent me flying over the left wheel, 
doing a somersault, and finally landing head first 
into a lovely soft sandbank. Spluttering and 
staggering to my feet, I looked round for the cause 
of my sudden exit from the car, and there in the 
glare of the headlight were two French offlcers. 
Both were laughing heartily and appreciating the 
joke. As I had not hurt myself, I joined in. After 
out hilarity had subsided they apologised, and 
hoped I had not hurt myself. Seeing that I was an 
an Englishman, they asked me where I was going. 
I replied, " to Nieuport Bain." They asked me if 
my chauffeur might take a message to the Captain 
es " 
of the -- Chasseurs. " Yes, y , I replied, 
" with pleasure." 
Thinking that by staying every second might be 
dangerous, I asked the offlcers to give the message, 
and we would proceed. They did so, and again 
apologising for their abrupt appearance, they bade 
us " good night." 

I hurriedly bade the drivcr start off, and away we 
went. He evidently had hot got over his nervous- 
ness, for, airer going about three-quarters of a toile, 
we tan into a large, partially filled shell-hole, burying 
the Iront wheels above the axle. To save myself 
Irom a second dive, I clutched hold ol the mitrail- 
This was a position indeed! Scooping away as 
much sand as possible from the front wheels, we put 
on Iull power, and tried to back the car out ol it. 
But as the rear wheels were unable to grip in the sand 
it would hot budge. 
While there the Germans must bave seen our light, 
for suddenly a star-shell shot up from their position, 
illuminating the ground Ior a great distance. I 
swiftly pinched the tube ol our headlight, so putting 
it out, then dropped Iull length on the sand. I 
observed my companion had done the same. 
We lay there Ior about ten minutes, hot knowing 
what to expect, but luckily nothing happened. It 
was obvious that we could hot move the car without 
assistance, so shouldering my apparatus we started 
to walk the remaining distance. Twice we were held 
up by sentries, but by giving the password we got 
through. Enquiring for the headquarters of 
Captain , we were directed to a ruined house 
which had been destroyed by German shell-fire. 
" Mon Capitaine is in the cellar, monsieur." 
Thinking that it would be a better introduction 
if I personally delivered the message to the Captain, 
I asked my chauffeur to let me do so. Asking the 
sentry at the door to take me to his Captain, we 
passed down some dozen steps and into a comfort- 
ably furnished cellar. Sitting round a little table 
were seven officers. I asked for Captain  
" He is hot here, monsieur," said one. " Is it 
urgent ? " 
" I do not know," I replie& I was trying to form 


another reply in French, when an officer asked me 
in English if he could be of any service. I told him 
that an officer had given me a message to deliver on 
my j ourney here, but owing to an accident to the 
car I had had to walk. Taking the letter, he said he 
would send a messenger to the Captain with it. 
" You must be hungry, monsieur. Will you share 
a snack with us ? " Gladly accepting their hospi- 
tality, I sat down with them. " Are you from 
London ? " he asked. 
" Yes," I said. " Do you know it ? " 
" Yes, yes," he replied. " I was for three years 
there. But are you militaire ?" he enquired. 
" Well, hardly that," I confess. "I ara here to 
take kinema records of the war. I have corne in this 
direction to film an action on the sand-dunes. Will 
you help me ? " 
" I will do what I can for you," he replied. " We 
expect to make a sortie to-morrow morning. It will 
be very risky for you." 
" I will take my chance," I replied, " with you." 
Whilst out conversation proceeded, I noticed a 
scuffling on the cellar steps, then into the room 
came four soldiers with a man in peasant's clothes. 
He turned out to be a spy caught signalling in the 
dunes. They brought him in to have a cup of coffee 
before taking him out tobe shot. He was asked if 
he would take sugar ; his reply was " No." 
Presently there was a shot outside, and there was 
one spy the less. 
The Captain returned and, after explanations, 
ruade me understand that he would accept no 
responsibility for my safety. Those conditions I 
did not mind a scrap. Rolling myself in a blanket, 
I tumbled in. " What would the morrow bring 
forth ? " I wondered. 
I was up next morning at four o'clock. Every- 
where there was a state of suppressed excitement. 



Outside the men were preparing, but there was not 
the least sign of confusion anywhere. To look at 
them one would hOt imagine these men were going 
out to fight, knowing that some of them at least 
would hot return again. But itis war, and sentiment 
has no place in their thoughts. 
The order came to line up. Hours before the 
scouts had gone out to prepare the ground. They 
had hot returned yet. Personally, I hoped they 
would hOt turn up till the day was a little more 
advanced. Eight o'clock; still not sufficient light 
for filming. A lieutenant came to me, and said if 
I would go carefully along the sand-dunes in the 
direction he suggested, possibly it would be better ; 
he would say no more. I did so; and I had only 
gone about hall a kilometre when, chancing to turn 
back, I spied coming over the dunes on my right 
two scouts, running for all they were worth. 
Quietly getting my camera into position, I started 
exposing, being certain this was the opening of the 
attack. I was not mistaken, for within a few minutes 
the advance guard came hurrying up in the distance ; 
the attack was about to begin. Suddenly the French 
g-uns opened tire ; they were concealed some distance 
in the rear. Shells then went at it thick and fast, 
shrieking one after the other overhead. 
The advance guard opened out, clambered up the 
dunes, and disappeared over the top, I filming 
them. I waited until the supporting column came 
up, and filmed them also. I followed them up and 
over the dunes. Dcploying along the top, they 
spread out about six metres apart, with the object 
of deceiving the Germans as to their numbers, until 
the supporting column reached them. The battle 
of musketry then rang out. Cautiously advancing 
with a company, I filmed them take the offensive 
and make for a large dune forty yards ahead. 
Successfully reaching it they lay down and fired in 


rapid succession. Crawling up, I managed to take a 
fine scene of the attack, showing the explosion of two 
French shells over the ruins of the town. The 
Germans evidently found our range, for several 
shells came whistling unpleasantly near me. 
What followed was a succession of scenes, show- 
ing the covering columns advancing and others 
moving round on the flank. The Germans lost 
very heavily in this engagement, and great progress 
was ruade by the gallant French. While filming a 
section of the flanking party, I had the nearest 
acquaintance with a shell that I shall ever wish for. 
I don't think it would have been the good fortune of 
many to have such an experience and corne scathless 
out of ff. 
I was kneeling filming the scene, when I heard a 
shell hurtling in my direction. Knowing that if I 
moved I might as likely run into it as not, I remained 
where I was, still operating my camera, when an 
explosion occurred just behind me, which sounded 
as if the earth itself had cracked. The concussion 
threw me with terrific force head over heels into the 
sand. The explosion seemed to cause a vacuum in 
the air for some distance around, for try as I would 
I could not get my breath. I lay gasping and 
struggling like a drowning man for what seemed an 
interminable length of rime, although it could bave 
only been a few seconds. 
Af last I pulled round; my first thought was for 
my camera. I saw ita short distance away, half 
buried in the sand. Picking it up, I was greatly 
relieved to find it uninjured, but choked with sand 
round the lens, which I quickly cleared. The im- 
pression on my body, caused by the concussion of 
the exploding shell, seemed as if the whole of one 
side of me had been struck with something soft, 
yet with such terrible force that I felt it all over af 
the same moment. That is the best way I can 

describe ff, and I assure you I don't wish for a 
second interview. Æoticin gE some blood upon my 
hand, I found a small wound on the knuckle. 
Whether or no it was caused by a small splinter from 
the shell, I cannot say; in all probability if was, 
for I do hot think striking the soft sand would have 
caused it. 
Turning back, I ruade for the sea road, and filmed 
the reserves coming up to strengthen the positions 
already won. Hurrying across in the direction of 
another column, I filmed them steadily advancing, 
while their comrades kept the Germans employed 
from the top of a large dune. The main body then 
came up and lined the top for a considerable distance, 
and at the word of command the whole body arose 
as one man. For the fraction of a second they were 
strikingly silhouetted against the sky-line; then 
with a cheer they charged down the other side. 
Darkness was now closing in, making it impossible 
for me to film any further developments, so I pro- 
ceeded back to the cellar with an officer and some 
men. After resting awhile, I decided to go back to 
Fumes that night with my films and get home with 
them as quickly, as possible. Meeting a small 
transport car gomg in the desired direction after 
some stores, I begged a ride, and getting up beside 
the driver, we started off. Owing to the enormous 
shell-holes if was impossible to proceed along the 
road without a light. 
What a magnificent sight it was. Magnesium 
star-shells were continually being sent up by the 
Germans. They hung in the air alight for about 
thirty seconds, illuminating the ground like day. 
When they disappeared the guns flashed out ; then 
the French replied; aftei that more star-shells; 
then the guns spoke again, and soit continued. We 
were suddenly stopped by an officer warning us 
to put out out lamp immediately, and proceed 


cautiously for about three hundred yards. While 
doing so a shell came screaming by. We knew then 
that the Germans had seen out light. We immedi- 
ately rushed to a shell-proof shelter in the sand. I 
had barely reached it when a shell exploded close by 
the car, half destroying the body of it. That was 
the only one that came anywhere near. Running 
to see what damage was done, I was pleased to see, 
by the aid of a covered light, that the chassis was 
practically uninjured. So starting up we once more 
proceeded on our j ourney. 
We had several narrow squeaks in negotiating 
corners and miniature sand-banks, and once we 
bumped into a mule that had strayed on to the road 
--but whether it will do so again I don't know, for 
after the bump it disappeared in a whirl of sand, 
making a noise like a myriad of fiends let loose. 
But the remainder of the journey was uneventful, 
and after a long night's test I left for Calais. 



In a Trench Coat and Cap I again Run the GauntletmA Near 
Squeak--Looking for Trouble- I Nearly Find It--A Rough 
Ride and a Mud Bath--An Affair of Outposts--I Gct Used to 
CrawlingHot Work at the Gunsl ara Reported Dead--But 
Prove Very Much Alive-----And then Receive a ShockA 
Stern Chase. 

T IME after time I crossed over to France and 
so into Belgium, and obtained a series of 
pictures that delighted my employers, 
and pleased the picture theatre public. But I 
wanted something more than snapshots of topical 
Unfortunately, I had been unable to make 
previous arrangements for a car to take me into 
Belgium. The railroad was barred to me, and walk- 
ing quite out of the question. A motor-car was the 
only method of travelling. Airer two days of careful 
.enquiries, I at last round a man to take me. He was 
In the transport department, taking meat to the 
trenches. I was to meet him that evening on the 
outskirts of Calais. And I met him that night 
at an appointed rendezvous, and started on our 
Eventually we entered Furnes. Making my way 
into a side street, I told my chauffeur to call at a 
certain address whenever he passed through the 
town, and if I should require his services further, 
I would leave a letter to that effect. 
I was awakened next morning by being vigorously 
shaken by my Belgian friend, Jules. 


" Quick, monsieur, the Germans are bombarding 
us," he cried. 
Jumping out of bed, I rushed to the window. The 
next second I heard the shriek of shells coming 
nearer. With a crash and a fearful explosion they 
burst practically simultaneously on the houses 
opposite, completely demolishing them, but luckily 
killing no one. Hastily dressing, I grabbcd my 
camera and went out into the square and waited. 
hoping to film, if possible, the explosion of the shells 
as they fell on the buildings. Two more shells came 
shrieking over. The few people about were quickly 
making for the cover of their cellars. Getting my 
camera into position, ready to swing in any direction, 
I waited. With deafening explosions the shells 
exploded in a small street behind me. The Germans 
were evidently trying to smash up the old Flemish 
town hall, which was in the corner of the market- 
place, so I decided to fix my focus in its direction. 
But though I waited for over an hour, nothing else 
happ.ened. The Germans had ceased firing for that 
mormng at least. Not till I had gone to my café did 
I realise the danger I had exposed myself to, but 
somehow I had seemed so confident that I should 
not get hit, that to film the explosions entirely 
absorbed all my thoughts. 
Next morning I decided to tour the front line, 
if possible from Dixmude to Nieuport, making 
Ramscapelle a centre. I hoped to drop in with an 
isolated action or a few outpost duels, for up to the 
present things were going exceedingly slow from my 
point of view. 
Arranging for a dispatch rider to take me alon.g to 
Ramscapelle, away I went. The roads were in a 
frightful condition after months of tain, and shell- 
holes were dotted all over the surface. It is marvel- 
lous these men do not more frequently meet death 
by accident, for what with the back wheel sliding 

and skidding like an unbroken mule, and dodging 
round shell-holes as if we were playing musical 
chairs, and hanging round the driver's waist like a 
limpet to keep out balance, it was anything but a 
comfortable experience. In the end one back wheel 
slipped into a shell-hole and pitched me into a lovely 
pool of water and mud. Then after remounting, 
we were edged off lle road into lte mud again by a 
heavy transport lorry, and enjoyed a second mud- 
bath. After that I came to the conclusion that I 
would rather film a close view of a bayonet charge 
lhan do another such journey. 
By now I was the most abject-looking specimen 
of lmmanity imaginable. My camera in its case was 
securely fastened on my shoulders as a knapsack, 
and so, with the exception of a slight derangement, 
which I soon readjusted, no damage was done. But 
the motor-cycle suffered considerably, and leaving 
it alongside the road to await a breakdon lorry to 
repair it--or a shell to finish it--I proceeded on foot 
to Ramscapelle. 
Within a hundred yards of the ruined town, from 
the shelter of a wrecked barn came the voice of a 
Belgian soldier peremptorily ordering me to take 
cover. Without asking questions, I did so by 
sprawling full length in a deep wheel-rut, but as I 
had previously had a mud-bath, a little more or less 
did hot matter. I wriggled myself towards the 
cover of lhe barn, when a sharp volley of rifle-fire 
broke out on my left. Gaining shelter, I asked the 
soldier the reason of the fusillade. 
" Uhlan outposts, monsieur," replied the man 
Keeping under cover, I crawled towards the back 
of the barn, and ensconced behind some bales of 
straw, on a small bridge, I filmed this Belgian out- 
post driving off the Uhlans, and peeping through 
one of the rifle slots, I could see them shohag a 

clean pair of heels, but hot without losing one of 
their number. He was brought into our lines later, 
and I was lucky enough to secure the pennon from 
his lance as a souvenir. 
I ruade my way by various means into the town. 
The place was absolutely devoid of life. It was 
highly dangerous to move about in the open. To be 
seen by the German airmen was the signal for being 
shelled for about three hours. 
Whilst filming some of the ruins, I was startled by 
a sharp word of command. Turning round, I saw a 
Belgian soldier, with his rifle pointing at me. He 
ordered me to advance. I produced my permit, and 
giving the password, I quite satisfied him. Bidding 
me corne inside he indicated a seat, and asked me to 
have some soup. And didn't it smell appetising! 
A broken door served as a table ; various oddments, 
as chairs and the soup-copper, stood in the centre 
of the table. This proved one of the most enjoyable 
meals of the campaign. 
The soldier told me they had tobe very careful to 
guard, against spies. They had caught one only. that 
mornmg, " but he will spy no more, monsieur," 
he said, with a significant look. 
I rose, and said I must leave them, as I wanted to 
take advantage of the daylight. I asked my friend 
if he could give me any information as to the where- 
abouts of anything interesting to film, as I wanted 
to take back scenes to show the people of England 
the ravages caused in Belgium by the Huns, and the 
brave Belgians in action. He was full of regrets 
that he was not able to accompany me, but being on 
duty he dare hot move. 
With a hearty shake of the hand and best wishes 
we parted, and, keeping under cover of the ruined 
buildings as much as possible, I ruade my way 
through Ramscapelle. Hardened as I was by now 
to sights of devastation, I could not help a lump 

rising in my throat when I came upon children's toys, 
babies' cots, and suchlike things, peeping out from 
among the ruins caused by the German guns.. 
These scenes caused me fo wander on in deep 
.thought, quite oblivious to my immediate surround- 
mgs. This momentary lapse nearly proved disas- 
trous. By some means I had passed the sentries, 
and wandered practically on top of a Belgian 
concealed heavy gun battery. I was quickly 
brought to my senses by being dragged into a gun 
trench, absolutely invisible both from the front and 
Compelled fo go on hands and knees into the dug- 
oui, I was confronted by a rather irate Belgian 
officer, who demanded why I xvas there walking 
about and not taking cover. Did I know that I had 
drawn the enemy's tire, which was very nearly an 
unpardonable offence ? 
Quickly realising the seriousness of my position, 
I thought the best thing to do was fo tell him my 
mission, and so I explained fo the officer that I had 
unconsciously wandered there. 
" There, monsieur," he said, " that is what you 
have done," and at that moment I heard two shells 
explode fiffeen yards behind us. " We date not 
reply, monsieur," he said, " because this is a secret 
battery. Mon Dieu ! " he exclaimed, " I hope they 
cease firing, or they may destroy out defences." 
Fortunately, the Germans seeing no further sign of 
life, evidently thought it was a case of an isolated 
soldier, and so ceased their tire. Imagine my 
I enquired if there was anyone there who could 
speak English. A messenger was sent out and 
returned with a Belgian, who before the war broke 
out was a teacher of languages in England. With 
his aid I gave the chief officer full explanation, and 
pledged my word of honour that neither names, 

districts, nor details of positions should ever be 
Wishing to film some scenes of big guns in action, 
I enquired whether he was going to tire. He was 
expecting orders any minute, so rnaking myself as 
cornfortable as possible in the dug-out, I waited. 
But nothing happened, and that night, and the one 
following, I slept there. 
Early next rnorning (about 3 a.rn.) I was awakened 
by the noise of a terrific cannonading. Together 
with the officer I crawled out on to the top of our 
embankrnent and viewed the scene. The Gerrnans 
had started a night attack, the Belgian guns had 
caught them in the act and were skelling them for 
all they were worth. 
As soon as it was daylight I strapped rny carnera 
on rny back, and, lying fiat in the rnud, I edged 
away in the direction of the battery. Before leaving, 
the officer gave rne a final warning about drawing the 
Germans' tire. Alternately crawling and working 
rny way on hands and knees, and taking advantage 
of any little bit of cover, I drew nearer to the guns. 
While I was lying here, there crashed out a regular 
infemo of rifle-fire from the German trenches. The 
bullets sang overhead like a flight of hornets. 
This certainly was a warm corner. If I had filmed 
this scene, all that would have been shown was a 
dreary waste of mud-heaps, caused by the explosion 
of the shells, and the graves of fallen soldiers dotted 
all over the place. As far as the eye could see the 
country was absolutely devoid of any living thing. 
Thousands of people in England, comfortably 
seated in the picture theatre, would have passed 
this scene by as quite uninteresting except for its 
rnemories. But if the sounds I heard, and the flying 
bullets that whizzed by me, could have been photo- 
graphed, they might take a different view of it. 
Death was everywhere. The air was thick with it. 

To have lifted my head would have meant the billet 
for a bullet. So there I had to lie soaked through to 
the skin, and before I had been there twenty minutes 
I was literally lying in water. The German fusillade 
seemed interminable. Suddenly with a roar the 
Belgian guns spoke. About fifty shells were fired, 
and gradually the rifle-fire ceased. With a sigh of 
relief I drew myself out of the hole which my body 
had made, and on my elbows and knees, like a baby 
crawling, I covered the intervening ground fo the 
battery. Getting up, and bending nearly double, 
I tan under cover of the barricades. 
The men were astounded to see me run in. I went 
in the direction of a group of officers, who looked at 
me in amazement. Saluting me, one of them came 
forward and asked who I wanted. Explaining my 
business, I told him I had permission from head- 
quarters to film any scenes of interest. The officer 
then introduced me to his friends, who asked me 
how in the world I had crossed the district without 
getting hit. I described my movements, and they 
all agreed that I was exceedingly lucky. 
Once more the guns started, so getting my camera 
ready I commenced filming them m action, one 
scene after another. I changed from the firing of 
one gun to the full battery in action. The men were 
working like mad. All the rime they were baling 
water out of the gun trenches with buckets. In 
some cases airer the gun had fired if sank back about 
eighteen inches in the mud, and had to be dug out 
and set again. These poor devils had been doing 
this for nearly four months, every man of them was 
a hero. 
While taking these scenes, my compressed air 
cylinders tan out. Looking round for somevhere 
solid on which to put my machine and foot-pump, 
I round some bricks, and made a little foundation. 
Then I started to pump up. At every six strokes of 

the pump, it was necessary to pack under it more 
bricks, and still more, for the ground was a veritable 
morass. In the ordinary way my camera takes 
ten minutes to refill. On this occasion it took me 
forty-five minutes, and all the rime guns were 
thundering out. 
Making my way in a semi-circle, under cover of 
the communication trenches, to the most advanced 
outpost, I filmed a party of Belgian snipers hard at 
work, cheerfully sniping off any German unwise enough 
to show the smallest portion of his head. Several 
rimes while I was watching, I noticed one of the men 
mark upon his rifle with the stub of a pencil. I 
asked why he did it. 
"That, monsieur," he replied, " is a mark for 
every Bosche I shoot. See," he said, holding the 
butt-end for me to look at, and I noticed twenty- 
eight crosses marked upon it. Snatching it up to his 
shoulder he fired agaln, and joyfully he added 
another cross. 
By this rime it was getting dark, and quite im- 
possible to take any more scenes, so I returned to the 
battery, where the officer kindly invited me to stay 
the night. Getting some dry straw from a water- 
proof bag, we spread it out on the boards of the 
trench-hut, rolled out blankets round out shoulders, 
and lighted out cigarettes. Then they asked me 
about England. They told me that as long as 
Belgium existed they would never forget what 
England had done for her people. While talking 
our candle went out, and as we had no other we sat 
in the darkness, huddled together to keep warm. 
Heavy tain again came on, penetrating through the 
earth roof and soaking into my blanket. 
I must have dozed off, for after a little while I 
awoke with a start and, looking towards the entrance, 
I noticed a blue-white glare of light. As my coin- 
panions were getting out, I followed them, in time 

to see the Germans sending up star-shells, fo guard 
against any attack on out part. 
The following day I filmed several scenes con- 
nected with the Belgian artillery and outposts. I 
waited during the remainder of the day fo catch, if 
possible, some scenes of German shells exploding, 
but again I was doomed fo disappointment, for, ç'ith 
the exception of a few af a distance, I was never able 
fo get the close ones in my field of view. 
Having exhausted my stock of film, I decided to 
return fo my base, but on bidding adieu to the 
Commandant he begged me fo return under cover 
of darkness. That night I set out for Furnes, and 
after walki.g about an hour, I was lucky enough to 
get a lift in an ambulance waggon, which set me 
doum in the market-place. 
Entering the café by a side door, my Belgian 
friend seemed to me to be astounded at my appear- 
ance. He immediately rushed up to me, shook my 
hands and pummelled my back. His friends did the 
saine. After I had got over my astonishment, I 
ventured to ask the reason for this jubilation. 
" Are thought you were dead," he cried; " we 
heard you had been shot by the Germans, and as 
you had not turned up for the last rive days, we 
came to the conclusion that it was true. But, 
monsieur, we cannot tell you how pleased we are to 
see you again ali,e and well." 
Seeing the condition I was in, they heated water 
for a bath, and assisted me in every way possible. 
Vrhen I was once more comfortable, I asked my 
friend, over a cup of coffee, to tell me the exact report, 
as it highly amused me. 
" Well, monsieur," he said, " yo.ur motor c3"clist 
came rushing in the other evenmg, saying that 
Monsieur Malins, the Englishman, had been shot 
while crossing ground between the two batteries. 
He told us that you had been seen attempting the 


crossing ; that you suddenly threw up your arms, 
and pitched forward dead. And, monsieur, we were 
preparing to send your bag to London, with a letter 
explaining the sad news. The Colonel was going to 
write the letter." 
" Well," I replied with a laugh, "I ara worth a 
good many dead men yet. I remember crossing the 
ground you mention--but, anyway, the' eye-witness' 
who saw my death was certainly ' seeing things.' " 



I Staxt for the Vosges--Am Arrested on the Swiss FrontiermAnd 
Released--But Arrested Again--And then Allowed to Go My 
Way--Filming in the Firing Zone--A Wonderful French Charge 
Over the Snow-clad Hills---I Take Big Isks--And Get a 
Magnificent Picture. 

T HE man who wants to film a fight, unlike 
the man who wants to describe it, must be 
really on the spot. A comfortable corner 
in the H6tcl des Quoi, at Boulogne, is no use to the 
camera man. 
" Is it possible to film actual events with the 
French troops in the Vosges and Alsace ? " I was 
asked when I got back after my last adventure. 
" If the public wants those films," I replied, " the 
public must have them." And without any previous 
knovledge of the district, or its natural difficulties, 
apart from the normal military troubles to which by 
that rime I was hardened, I set out for Paris, deter- 
mined to plan my route according to what I learned 
there. And for the test I knew it would be luck that 
would dctermine the result, because other camera 
men had attempted to cover the same district, men 
xvho knew evcrything there was to be known in the 
way of getting on the spot, and all had been turned 
back vith trifling success. 
For various reasons, among them the claims of 
picturesqueness, St. Dié struck me as the best field, 
and to get there it is necessary to make a detour into 
Switzerland. From Geneva, where I arranged for 
transport of my films in case of urgent need, much 

AND "Ïl I ff 


as an Arctic explorer would leave supplies of food 
behind him on his way to the Pole, I arranged in 
certain places that if I was not heard from at certain 
dates and certain rimes, enquiries were to be made, 
diplomatically, for me. 
From Basle I went to the Swiss frontier, and had 
a splendid view of the Alsace country, which was 
in German possession. German and Swiss guards 
stood on either side of the boundary, and they made 
such a picturesque scene that I filmed them, which 
was nearly disastrous. A gendarme pounced on me 
at once, took me to general headquarters and then 
back to Perrontruy, whcre I was escorted through 
the streets by an armed guard. 
At the military barracks I was thoroughly 
examined by the chief of the staff, who drew my 
attention to a military notice, prohibiting any photo- 
graphing of Swiss soldicry. He decided that my 
offence was so tank that it must go before another 
tribunal, and off I was marched to Delemont, where 
a sort of court-martial was held on me. My film, of 
course, was confiscated ; that was the least I could 
expect, but they also extracted a promise in writin.g 
that I would not take any more photographs in 
Switzerland, and they gave me a few hours to leave 
the country, by way of Berne. 
That didn't suit me at all. Berne was too far away 
from my intended destination, and, after a hurried 
study of the map, I decided to chance it, and go to 
Biel. I did. So did the man told off to watch me. 
And when I left the train at Biel he arrested me. I 
am afraid I sang " Rule Britannia " very loudly to 
those good gentlemen before whom he took me, 
claiming the right of a British citizen to do as he 
liked, within reason, in a neutral country. 
In the result they told me to get out of the country 
any .way I liked, if only I would get out, and, as my 
opinion was much the same, we parted good friends. 

I had lost a week, and many feet of good film, 
which showed me that the difficulties I should bave 
to face in my chosen field of operations were by far 
the greatest I had up to then encountered in any of 
my trips to the firing line. I pushed on through 
Besançon on the way to Belfort. 
Now Belfort, being a fortified town, was an 
obviously impossible place for me to get into, becallse 
I shouldn't get out again in a hurry. So I took a 
slow train, descended at a small station on the out- 
skirts, prepared to make my way across country to 
Remiremont. This I achieved, very slowly, and 
with many difficulties, by means of peasants' carts 
and an occasional ride on horseback. 
This brought me into the firing zone, and the 
region of snow. My danger was iacreased, and my 
mode of progress more difficult, because for the 
first rime in my life I had to take to skis. So many 
people have told the story of their first attempts 
with these that I will content myself with saying 
that, after many tumbles, I became roughly accus- 
tomed to them, and that when sledge transport was 
not available, I was able to make my way on ski. I 
don't suppose anyone else has ever learned to ski 
under such queer conditions, with the roar of big 
guns rllmbling round all the time, with my whole 
expedition trembling every moment in the balance. 
The end of my j ourney to St. Dié was the most 
dramatic part of the whole business. Tired out, I 
saw a café on the outskirts of the village, which I 
thought would serve me as a reconnoitring post, 
so I went in and ordered some coffee. I had not been 
there rive minutes when some officers walked in, and 
drew themselves up sharply when they saw a 
stranger there, in a mlld-stained costume that might 
have been a British army uniform. I decided to 
take the bold course. I rose, saluted them, and in 
my Anglo-French ished them good evening. They 

returned my reeting and sat down, conversing in 
an undertone, with an occasional side-flung glance 
at me. I saw that my attack would have to be 
pushed home, especially as I caught the word 
" espion," or my fevered imagination ruade me think 
I did. 
I rose and crossed to their table, all smiles, and in 
my best French heartily agreed with them that one 
bas to be very careful in war time about spies. In 
fact, I added, I had no doubt they took me for 
This counter-attack--and possibly the very notice- 
able Britishness of my accent--rathcr confused them. 
Happily one of them spoke a little English, and, with 
that and my little French, satisfactory explanations 
were ruade. 
I affected no secrecy about my object, and asked 
them frankly if it would be possible for pictures of 
their regiment to be taken. One of them promised 
to speak to the Commandant about it. I begged 
them not to trouble about it, however, as really all 
I wanted was a hint as to when and where an 
engagement was probable, and then I would manage 
to be there. 
They. shrugged their shoulders in a most grimly 
expressive way. 
" If you do that it will be at your own risk," they 
I gladly accepted the risk, and they then told me 
of one or two vantage points in the district from 
which I might manage to see something of the 
operations, taking my chance, of course, of anything 
happening near enough to be photographed, as they 
could not, and quite rightly would not, say anything 
as to the plans for the future. 
It was not quite midday. I had at least four hours 
of daylight, and I determined not to lose them. It 
was obvious that my stay in St. Dié would be very 



brief at the best. I hired a sledge and persuaded the 
driver to take me part of the way at least to the 
nearest point which the officers had mentioned. 
But neither he nor his horse liked the way the 
shells were coming around, and at last even his 
avarice refused to be stimulated further at the 
expense of his courage. So I strapped on my skis, 
thankful for my earlier experience with them, and 
sped towards a wood which French soldiers were 
clearing of German snipers. I managed to get one 
or two good incidents there, though occasional un- 
certainty about my skis spoiled other fine scenes, 
and in my haste to more flore one spot to another, 
I once went head over heels into a snowdrift many 
feet deep. 
The ludicrous spectacle that I must have eut 
only occurred to me afterwards, and the utterly in- 
appropriate nature of such an incident within sight 
of men who were battling in lire and death grip was 
a reflection for calmer moments. I do not mind 
confessing that my sole thought during the whole of 
that afternoon was my camera and my films. The 
lust of battle was in me too. I had overcome great 
difficulties to obtain hot merely kinema-pictures, 
but actual vivid records of the Great War, scenes 
that posterity might look upon as true representa- 
tions of the struggle their forefathers waged. Military 
experts may argue as to whether this move or that 
was really ruade in a battle : the tales of soldiers 
returned from the wars become, in passing from 
mouth to mouth, fables of the most wondrous deeds 
of prowess. But the kinema film never alters. It 
does not argue. It depicts. 
The terrific cannonade that was proceeding told 
me that beyond the crest of the hill an infantry 
attack was preparing. It was for me a question of 
finding both a vantage point and good cover, for 
shells had already whizzed screaming overhead and 

exploded hot many yards behind me. There were 
the remains of a wall ahead, and I discarded my 
skis in order to crawl fiat on my stomach to one of 
the larger remaining fragments, and when I got 
behind it I found a most convenient hole, which 
would allow me to work my camera without being 
exposed myself. 
In the distance a few scouts, black against the 
snow, crawled crouching up the hill. 
The attack was beginning. 
The snow-covered hillside became suddenly black 
with moving figures sweeping in irregular formation 
up towards the crest. Big gun and rifle tire mingled 
like strophe and antistrophe of an anthem of death. 
There was a certain massiveness about the noise 
that was awful. Yet there was none of the tradi- 
tional air of battle about the engagement. There 
was no hand to hand fighting, for the opponents 
were several hundred yards apart. It was just now 
and then when one saw a little distant figure pitch 
forward and lie still on the ShOW that one realised 
there was real fighting going on, and that it was not 
The gallant French troops swept on up the hill, 
and I think I was the only man in all that district 
who noted the black trail of spent human lire they 
left behind them. 
I raised myself ever so little to glance over the 
top of my scrap of sheltering wall, and away across 
the valley, on the crest of the other hill, I could see 
specks which were the Germans. They appeared to 
be massing ready for a charge, but the scene was too 
far away for the camera to record it with any 
I therefore swept round again to the French lines, 
to meet the splendid sight of the French reserves 
dashing up over the hill behind me to the support. 
Every man seemed animated by the one idea--to 

take the bill. There was a swing, an air of irresisti- 
bility about them that was magnificent. But even 
in the midst of enthusiasm my trained sense told me 
that my position must have been visible to some of 
them, and that it was time for me to move. 
I edged my way along the broken stumps of wall 
to the shelter of a wood, and there, with bullets from 
snipers occasionally sending twigs, leaves, and even 
branches pattering down around me, .ith shells 
bursting all round, I continued to filin the general 
attack until the spool in the camera ran out. To 
bave changed spools there would bave been the 
height of folly, so I plunged down a side path, where 
in the shelter of a dell, with thick undergrooEh, I 
loaded up my camcra again, and utterly careless of 
direction, ruade a dash for the edge of the wood 
again, emerging just in rime fo catch the passage of 
a Frcnch regiment advancing along the edge of the 
wood to cut off the retreat of the little party of 
Germans who had been endeavouring fo hold if as 
an advanced sniping-post. 
Snipers seemed to be in every tree. t3ullets 
whistled down like acorns in the autumn breeze, 
but the French suddenly formed a semi-circle and 
pushed right into the vood, driving the enemy from 
their perches in the trees or shootiaag them as they 
scrambled down. 
Through the wood I plunged, utterly ignoring 
every danger, both from friend or foe, in the thrill 
of that wonderful " drive." Luck, however, xvas 
with me. Neither the French nor the Germans 
seemed to see me, and we all suddenly came out of 
the wood at the far side, and I then managed fo get 
a splendid picture of the end of the pursuit, Then 
the French, wild with excitement at their success in 
clearing the district of the enemy, plunged madly 
down the hill in chase of the last remnants of the 
sniping band. 

A few seconds later I darted back into the cover 
of the trees. 
My mission was accomplished. I had secured 
pictures of actual events in the Vosges. But that 
was the least part of my work. I had to get the film 
to London. 
The excitement of the pursuit had taken me far 
from my starting-point, and with the reaction 1bat 
set in when I was alone in the wood, with all its 
memories and its ghastly memorials of the carnage, 
I round it required all my strength of nerve to push 
me on. I had to plough through open spaces, two 
feet and more deep in snow, through undergrowth, 
hOt knowing at what moment I might stumble 
across some unseen thing. Above all, I had but the 
barest recollection of my direction. It seemed 
many hours before I regained my stump of wall and 
found my skis lying just where I had cast them off. 
It was a race against rime, too, for dusk was falling, 
and I knew that it would be impossible to get out of 
St. Dié by any conveyance after dark. 
I had the luck to find a man with a sledge, who 
was returning to a distant village, some way behind 
the war zone, and he agreed for a substantial con- 
sideration to take me. We drove for many hours 
through the night, and it was very late when at last, 
in a peasant's cottage, I flung myself fully dressed 
on a sofa, for there was no spare bed, and slept like 
a log for several hours. 
It was by many odd conveyances that I ruade my 
way to Besançon, and thence to Dijon. I had 
managed to clean myself up, and looked less like an 
escaped convict than I had done; but I was very 
wary all the way to Paris, where I communicated 
with headquarters, and received orders to rush the 
films across to London as fast as ever I could. 
Having overcome the perils of the land, I had to 
face those of the sea, for the German submarines 


were just beginning their campaign against merchant 
shipping, and cross-Channel steamers were an almost 
certain mark. So the boat service was suspended 
for a day or two, and there was I stranded in Dieppe 
with my precious films, as utterly shut off from 
London as the German army. 
I was held up there for three days, during which 
time I secured pictures of the steamer Dinorah, 
which limped into port after being torpedoed, of a 
sailing vessel which had struck a mine, and some 
interesting scenes on board French torpedo boat 
destroyers as they returned from patrolling the 
I spent most of my time hanging around the docks, 
ready to rush on board any steamer that touched 
af an English port. At last I heard of one that would 
start af midnight. My films were all packed in tins, 
sealed with rubber solution to make them absolutely 
watertight, and the tins were strung together, so 
that in the event of the ship going down I could 
have slipped them round my waist. If they went to 
the bottom I should go too, but if I was saved I was 
determined hot to reach London without them. 
As it happened, my adventures were at an end. 
We saw nothing of any under-water pirates, and my 
trip to the fighting line ended in a prosaic taxi-cab 
through London streets that seemed to know 
nothing of war. 





I am Appolnted an Official War Office Kinematographer--And Start 
for the Front Line Trenches--Filrning the Gerrnan Guns in 
Action--With the Canadians--Picturesque Hut Settlement 
Among the Poplars--" Hyde Park Corner "--Shaving by 
Candlelight in Six Inches of Water--Filrning in Full View of the 
German Lines, 75 yards away--A ]3ig Risk, but a Realistic 

D URING the early days of the war I worked 
more or less as a free lance camera man, 
both in Belgium and in France, and it was 
hot till the autumn of 1915 that I was appointed an 
Official Kinematographer by the War Office, and 
was dispatched to the Front to take films, under the 
direction of Kinematograph Trade Topical Com- 
mittee. When offered the appointment, I did not 
take long to decide upon its acceptance. I was 
ready and anxious to go, and as I had had consider- 
able experience of the work, both in Belgium and in 
the Vosges, I knew pretty well what was expected 
of me. Numerous interviews with the authorities 
and members of the Committee followed, and for a 
few days I was kept in a fever of expectation. 
Eventually arrangements were completed, and the 
announcement was then made that Mr. Tong (of 
Jury's Imperial Pictures) and myself had been 
appointed Official War Office Kinematographers. 
I was in the seventh heaven of delight, and looked 
forward to an early departure for the Front in my 
official capacity. This came soon enough, and on 
the eve of our going Tong and I were entertained to 
dinner by the members of the Topical Committee, 


and during the post-prandial talk many interesting 
and complimentary things were said. 
We left Charing Cross on an early morning in 
November, and several members of the Committee 
were there to see us off, and wish us God-speed. 
We reached the other side safely, after a rather 
choppy crossing, and soon I was on my way to the 
Front--and the front line trenches, if possible. 
Passing through Bailleul, Armentières and Ploeg- 
steert, I was able to film some hidden batteries in 
action. As the whole road was in full view of the 
German lines we had to go very carefully. Several 
shells dropped close by me when running across the 
open ground. I managed at last to get into a house, 
and from a top window, or rather what was once a 
window, filmed the guns in action. 
While doing so an artillery oflïcer came and told 
me not to move too much as the Germans had been 
trying to find this battery for some considerable 
time, and if they saw any movement they would 
undoubtedly start to shell heavily. Not wishing to 
draw a cloud of shells on me, needless to say, I was 
v.ery careful. Eventually I obtained the desired 
vlew, and making my way through the communica- 
tion trenches to the front of the guns, I obtained 
excellent pictures of rapid firing. I had to keep very 
low the whole of the rime. About forty yards on my 
right a small working party of out men had been seen, 
and they were immediately " strafed." 
During the next few days it rained the whole of 
the time, and there was little opportunity for photo- 
graphy; but I obtained some excellent scenes, 
showing the conditions under which out men were 
living and fighting, and their indomitable cheer- 
About this time I arranged to go to the Canadian 
front tienches, in their section facing Messines. 
Arriving at the headquarters at Bailleul, I met 



Lieutenant-Colonel , and we decided to go 
straight to the front line. Leaving in a heavy tain, 
we splashed out way through one continuous stream 
of mud and water. Mile after toile of if. In places 
the water covered the entire road, until af rimes one 
hardly knew which was the road and which was the 
ditch alongside. Several times our car got ditched. 
Shell-holes dotted our path everywhere. 
Apart from the rotten conditions, the journey 
proved most interesting ; vehicles of all kinds, .from 
motor-buses fo wheelbarrows, were rushing back- 
wards and forwards, taking up supplies and return- 
ing empty. Occasionally we passed ambulance cars, 
with some poor fellows inside suffering from frost- 
bite, or " trench-foot" as it is generally called out 
here. Though their feet were swathed in bandages, 
and they were obviously in great pain, they bore up 
like true Britons. Line after line of men passed us. 
Those coming from the trenches were covered in mud 
from head fo foot, but they were all smiling, and 
they swung along with a word and a jest as if they 
were marching down Piccadilly. Those going in to 
take their places : were they gloomy ? Not a bit of 
it! If anything they were more cheerful, and 
quipped their mud-covered comrades on their 
We drew up af a ruined farm-house, which the 
Colonel told me used to be their head.quarters, until 
the position was given away by sples. Then the 
Germans started shelling if until there was hardly a 
brick standing. Luckily none of the staff were killed. 
Leaving the farm, we made our way on foot fo 
Ploegst.eert Wood. A terrible amount of " strafing " 
was gomg on here. Shells were exploding all round, 
and our guns were replying with " interest." As we 
made out way cautiously up fo the side of the wood, 
with mud half way up fo our knees, we scrambled, 
or rather waddled, round the base of the much- 

contestedhill, which the Germans tried their hardest 
to keep, but which, thanks to the Canadians, we 
wrested from them. 
Under cover of canvas screens, which in many 
places were blown away by shell-fire, and bending 
low to save out heads from the snipers' bullets, we 
gained the communication trenches. Again wading 
knee-deep in mud and water, we eventually reached 
the firing trench. 
The German front line was only sixty-five yards 
away, and the town of Messines could be seen in the 
Staying in this section of trench, I filmed several 
scenes of the men at work ropairing and rebuilding 
the sides which the night previou.s had been destroyed 
by shell-fire and the heavy rares. Then followed 
scenes of relief prties coming in, and working 
parties hard at it trying to drain their dug-outs. 
This latter seemed to me an almost superhuman 
task ; but through it all, the men smiled. Bending 
low, I raced across an open space, and with a 
jump landed in an advanced sniper's post, in a 
ruined farm-house. I filmed him, carefully and 
coolly picking off the Germans foolish enough to 
show their heads. 
Then I set my camera up behind what I thought 
quite a safe screen, to film a general view of our 
front line, but I had hardly started exposing when, 
with murderous little shrieks, two bullets whizzed 
close by my head--quite as near as I shall ever want 
them. Dropping as low as possible, I reached up, 
and still turning the handle finished the scene. 
Then followed several pictures of scouts and snipers 
making their way across the ground, taking ad- 
vantage of any slight cover they could get, in order 
to take up suitable positions for their work. 
By this time the light was getting rather bad, and 
as it was still raining liard I ruade my way back. 


During the return j ourney, an officer who accom- 
panied me showed himself unknowingly above the 
parapet, and " zipp " came a bullct, vhich ripped 
one of the stars off his coat. 
" Jove!" said he, with the greatest of sang-froid, 
" that's a near thing ; but it's spoilt my shoulder- 
strap " " and with a laugh we went on out way. 
Again we had to cross the open ground to the 
covered way. Accordingly we spread out about 
fifty yards apart, and proceeded. Careful as we were, 
the Germans spotted us, and from thence onwards 
to the top of the hill shrapnel shells burst all round 
us and overhead. Several pieces fcll almost at my 
feet, but by a miracle I escaped unscathed. 
For some minutes I had tolie crouching in a ditch, 
sitting in water. It was a veritable inferno of tire. 
I cautiously worked my way along. Where the test 
of the party had gone I did not know. I hugged my 
camera to my chest and staggered blindly on. In 
about hall an hour I gained the cover of some bushes, 
and for the first rime had a chance to look about me. 
The firing had momentarily ceased, and from various 
ditches I saw the heads of the other officers pop out. 
The sight was too funny for words. With a hearty 
laugh they jumped up and hurried away. My 
chauffeur, who incidentally used to carry my tripod, 
was the most sorry spectacle for he was absolutely 
covered from head to foot with clay, and m¥ tripod 
was quite unrecognisable. Hurrying over the top of 
the hill we gained out cars, and rapidly beat a retreat 
for headquarters. 
The following day I went to film the ruins of 
Richebourg St. Vaaste. What an awful spectacle! 
A repetition of the horrors of Ypres on a smaller 
scale. Nothing leff, only the bare skeletons of the 
houses and the church. With great diffictllty, I 
managed to climb to the top of the ruined tower, 
and filmed the town from that point. I was told by 


an observation officer to keep low, as the Germans 
had the church still under tire. Naturally I did so, 
hot wishing for a shell that might bring the tower 
down, and myself with it. 
Remarkable to relate, the figure of Christ upon 
the Cross was untouched in the midst of this terrible 
scene of devastation. Subsequently the tower was 
completely destroyed by German shells. 
Hearing that the Canadian guns were going to 
bombard Petite Douve, a large farmstead which the 
Germans had fortified with machine-guns and snipers, 
I started off from headquarters in the company of a 
lieutenant-colonel and a captain. A few passing 
remarks on the conditions of the road as we went 
along to Hill 63 will be interesting. No matter 
where one looked there was mud and water. In 
several places the roads were flooded to a depth of 
six inches, and out cars several times sank above the 
front axle in hidden shell-holes. The whole district 
was pitted with them. Entire sections of artillery 
were stuck in the mud on the roadside, and all the 
efforts of the men failed to move them. 
All around us hidden guns, 4"5 and 9.2, were 
hurtling their messengers of death with a monotonous 
regularity. Passing a signpost, marked " Hyde Park 
Corner," which looked incongruous in such a place, 
we entered Ploegsteert Wood. But what a change ! 
If was as if one had suddenly left France and dropped 
unceremoniously into the western woods of America, 
in the rimes of the old pioneers. By the wood-side, 
as far as one could see, stretched a series of log-huts. 
To the right the saine scene unfolded itself. Out 
cars came to a stop. Then I had a chance to study 
the settings more closely. 
What a picture ! Amidst all the glamour of war, 
these huts, surrounded by tall poplars, which stood 
grim, gaunt and leafless--in many places branchless, 
owing to the enemies' shells, which tore their way 


through them--presented the most picturesque 
scene I had corne across for many a long day. 
Upon the boards fixed over the doorposts were 
written the names of familiar London places. As 
the rime of the bombardment was draving near I 
could hot stay at the moment to film anything, 
but decided to do so at an early opportunity. 
Sharing my apparatus with two men, we started 
climbing through eighteen inches of slimy mud 
towards the top of Hill 63. The effort was almost 
backbreaking. At last we got through and paused, 
under cover of the ruins of an old château, to gain 
breath. To negotiate the top needed care as it was 
in full view of the German front. I went first with 
the Captain, and both of us kept practically doubled 
up, and moved on all fours. The men behînd us 
waited until we had covered about one hundred 
yards, then they followed. We decided to make for 
a point in the distance which was at one rime a 
grand old château. Now it was nothing more than 
a heap of rubble. We waited for the remainder of 
the party to corne up before proceeding, the idea 
being that in case either of us was hit by shrapnel, 
or picked off by a sniper, no rime would be lost in 
rendering assistance. 
Resting awhile, we again proceeded in the same 
order as before. We were held up by a sentry, and 
warned to take to the communication trenches down 
the hill, as German snipers had been picking off men 
in the working parties the whole of the morning, and 
shrapnel was continually bursting overhead. We 
entered the trench, and as usual sank up to out knees 
in mud. 
How in the world we got through it I don't know ! 
Every rime I lifted my foot it seemed as though the 
mud would suck my knee-boot off. After going 
along in this way for about three hundred yards, 
and occasionally ducking my head fo avoid being hit 

by bursting shells, we came fo a ruinecl barn. The 
cellars hacl been converted, with the aid of a good 
supply of sandbags, into a miniature fort. A sloping 
tunnel led to the interior, and the Captain going in 
front, we entered. 
There by the light of a candle, and standing in a 
goocl six inches of water, was a captain shaving him- 
self. This officer the previous week had led his party 
of bombers into the German trenches, killecl over 
thirty and capturecl twelve, and only sufferecl one 
casualty. For this action he was awarclecl the D.S.O. 
I was introducecl, and sitting on the edge of a bench 
we chattecl until the others came up. A few minutes 
later the Colonel entered. 
We then startecl off in single file clown the other 
side of Hill 63. I hacl fo take advantage of any bit 
of cover that offerecl itself cluring the clescent. At 
one point we had fo cross an open space between a 
ruinecl farm and a barn. The Germans hacl several 
snipers who concentratecl on this point, and there 
was consiclerable risk in getting across. Bencling low, 
however, I started, and when half-way over I heard 
the whistle of a bullet overheacl. I clroppecl fiat and 
crawlecl the remainder of the distance, reaching cover 
in safety. 
Af that moment out big guns started shelling the 
German trenches, and knowing that the diversion 
would momentarily occupy the snipers' attention 
the others raced safely across in a bocly. The re- 
mainder of the j ourney was made in comparative 
safety, the only danger being from exploding shrapnel 
overhead. But one cloes not trouble very much 
about that after a rime. Reaching the front trenches, 
I ruade my way along fo a point from which I could 
best view the Petite Douve. Obtaining a waterproof 
sheet we carefully raisecl it very, very slowly above 
the parapet with the aicl of a couple of bayonets. 
Without a doubt, I thought, the Germans woulcl be 


sure to notice something different on that section 
after a few seconds. And soit proved. Two rifle- 
shots rang out from the enemy trench, and right 
through the sheet they went. 
Our object in putting up this temporary screen 
was to hide the erection of my tripod and camera, 
and then at the moment the bombardment began 
it was to be taken away, and I would risk the test. 
Just when the bullets came through I was bending 
to fasten the tripod legs. A few seconds earlier and 
one or other of them would have surely round my 
head. Getting some sandbags, we carefully pushed 
them on to the parapet, in order to break the contact 
as much as possible, and we put one in front of the 
camera in a direct line to cover the movement of my 
hand while exposing. I was now ready. Raising 
my head above the parapet for a final look, I noticed 
I was fully exposed to the right German trenches, 
and was just on the point of asking Captain  if 
there was any possibility of getting sniped from that 
direction when with a "zipp " a bullet passed directly 
between out heads. Having obtained such a practical 
and prompt answer to my enquiry, though hot 
exactly the kind I had expected, I had some more 
sandbags placed, one on top of the other, to shdter 
my head as much as possible. 
All I had to do now was to focus, and to do that I 
lifted the bottom edge of the screen gently. In a 
few seconds it was done, and dropping the screen, 
I waited for the first shot. I was warned by an 
observing officer that I had still rive minutes to spare. 
They were not bombarding until 2.15. German 
shells were continually dropping all round. The 
part of the hill down which we came was getting 
quite a lively time of it. The enemy seemed to be 
searching every spot. On the ri.ght a Canadian sniper 
was at work, taking careful alto. Turning to me, 
he said: 


" Wall, sir, I ber that chap won't want any more 
headache pills." 
The remark caused a good deal of laughter. 
Boom--boom--boom. In rapid succession came 
two shells from out guns. Every one was alert. I 
sprang to my camera. Two men were standing by 
me, ready to take down the screen. Boom came 
another shell, and ata sign the men dropped the 
I was exposed to the full view of the German lines, 
from my shoulders.upwards. 
I started exposmg; the shells came in rapid 
succession, dropping right in the middle of the 
Pctite Douve. As they fcll clouds of bricks and 
other d6bris were thro»vn in the air; the din was 
terrific. Nothing in the world could possibly have 
lived there. After about thirty shells had been 
dropped there was a slight pause for about hall a 
minute, during which I continued turning the 
handle. The Germans were too occupied in getting 
under cover to notice the fine target my head offered, 
for hot a single shot was fired af me. 
Once more our guns rang out, and in as many 
seconds--at least soit seemed to me--another thirty 
shells dropped into the buildings and tore them wall 
from wall. Word was then passed to me that this 
was the finishing salvo. 
With the saine suddenness as it had begun, the 
firing ceased. Dropping quickly, and draggin.g the 
camera after me, I stood safely once more m the 
bottom of the trench and, to tell the truth, I was 
glad it was over. To put one's head above the 
parapet of a trench, with the Germans only seventy- 
rive yards away, and to take a kinematograph 
picture of a bombardment, is not one of the wisest-- 
or safest--things to do ! 



Leave-taking af Charing Cross--A Fruitless Search for Food on 
Christmas Eve--How Tommy Wclcomcd the Coming of the 
Festive Season--" Peace On Earth. Good Will To Men" fo the 
Boom of the Big Guns--Filming the Guards' Division--And the 
Prince of Walesming from a Christmas Service--This Ycar 
and Next. 

N December 23rd I met an officer, a captain, 
af Charing Cross Station. We were leaving 
by the 8.50 train, and we were not the only 
ones fo leave Christmas behind, for hundreds of men 
were returning fo the Front. Heartbreaking scenes 
were taking place, and many of the brave women- 
folk were stifling their sobs, in order to give their 
men a pleasant send-off, possibly for the last rime. 
Amidst hurried good-byes and fond kisses from 
mothers, sisters, sweethearts and wives, and with 
shouts of good luck from hundreds of throats, the 
train started off. Handkerchiefs were waved from 
many windows, cheerful heads were thrust out, and 
not until the train had cleared the platform, and the 
"hurrahs " had faded away in the distance, did we 
take our seats. Then wffh set faces, grim with 
determination, we resigned ourselves to the fate that 
awaited us on the battlefields of France. Reaching 
Boulogne, after a rather choppy voyage, our car 
conv.eyed us to G.H.Q., which we reached late in the 
The tollowing morning I was told to leave for La 
Gorgue, 4o film seenes connected with the Guards' 
Division. Late that afternoon, the Captain and 


I set out for our destination, reaching there about 
8 o'clock. I was billeted in a private bouse, and 
immediately enquired for some food, but it was 
impossible fo obtain any there. Going out I walked 
through the town, in the hope of finding a place fo 
get something. But none could be round. Feeling 
very tired, I began to retrace my steps, with the 
intention of going fo bed. 
On my way back I had reason to change my mind. 
Quite an interesting scene unfolded itself. The boom 
of the guns rang out sharp and clear. The moon was 
shining brightly, and at intervals there flashed across 
the sky the not-Iar-distant glare of star-shells. In 
the bouses, lining both sides of the road, there was 
music, from the humble mouth-o.rga.n to the piano, 
and lusty British voices were smglng old English 
tunes with the enthusiasm of boyhood. 
On the pavement clusters of our Tommies were 
proceeding towards their billets, singing heartily at 
the top of their voices. Some batches were singing 
carols, others the latest favourites, such as " Keep 
the Home Fires Burning." 
No marrer where one went, the saine conditions 
and the saine sounds prevailed ; just happy-go-lucky 
throngs, filled with the songs and laughter born of 
the spirit of Christmas. And yet as I reached my 
room, despite the scenes of joyousness and hilarity 
rampant, I could still hear the crash of the guns. 
This was my second Christmas at the Front, 
although hot in the same district. Last year I was 
with the brave Belgian army. This year was 
certainly very different in all.respects except the 
weather, and that was as polsonous as ever. A 
miserable, misty, drifting rain, which would soak 
through fo the skin in a tew minutes anyone hot 
provided with a good rainproof. Donning my 
Burberry, I proceeded towards a small chapel, or 
rather fo a building which is now used as one. It 

THF. PRINCE c')F" %V.-XLFS IIAVING A "I'F;MI'CRAR¥ t'IIUR(_']I -l" I_.X tORt:ltF., 
XMA.S IXY. 191.ç 

was originally a workshop. On three sides if was 
entirely surrounded by the floods. The front door 
was just clear, but I had fo paddle through Inud half- 
way up fo Iny knees fo get there. I intended fo 
obtain a filin of the Guards' Division attending the 
Christinas service. 
Fixing up my cainera, I awaited their arrival. 
After a short tiine they caine along, headed by their 
band. What a fine body of Inen! Swinging along 
with firin stride, they caine past. Thinking I had 
got sufficient I packed Iny cainera, when, fo Iny 
astonishinent, I saw the Prince of Wales, with Lord 
Cavan, coining up at the rear. Rushing back to Iny 
old position, I endeavoured to fix up again, to film 
them coining in, but I was too late. " Anyway," 
I thought, " I vill get him coming out." 
Fixing up Iny Inachine at a new and advantageous 
point of view, I waited. The service began. I could 
hear the strains of the old, old carols and Christinas 
hymns. Surely one could not have heard thein 
under stranger conditions, for as the sound of that 
beautiful carol, "Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men !" 
swelled froin the throats of several hundreds of our 
troops, the heavy guns thundered out round after 
round with increasing intensity. Strange that at 
such a Inoinent so terrific a boinbardinent should 
have taken place. It seeins as if soine strange tele- 
pathic influence was at work, coininanding all the 
guns in the vicinity to open tire wîth redoubled fury. 
And high in the air, our steel " birds " were hover- 
ing over the eneiny lines, directing the tire, and 
flecked all round thein, like flakes of SHOW, was the 
smoke from the shrapnel shells fired on them by the 
" Peace on earth, good will to Inen," caine the 
strains of Inusic froin the little church. Crash! 
went the guns again and again, throwing their 
shrieking Inass of metal far overhead. I fell into a 

deep reverie, and my thoughts naturally strayed fo 
those af home. 
Returning fo my room, I donned my thick woollen 
coat, as I intended fo rush off fo G.H.Q. fo see 
Tong, who had got a bad attack of dysentery, 
and try and cheer him up. Getting into my car, I 
told the chauffeur fo drive like the wind. I had 
fifty kilometres fo go. Away we rushed through the 
night, and as we went through villages where out 
Tommies were billeted, the strains of the old home 
songsIrish, Scotch and English--were wafted fo 
my ears. Except for the incessant shelling, the flash 
of guns, and the distant glare from the star-shells, 
if was almost impossible fo believe we were in the 
terrible throes of war. I arrived af G.H.Q. about 
8.30 p.m. 
Poor Tong was very queer and feeling dejected. 
Not being able fo speak French, he could not let the 
people of the hotel know what he wanted. I soon 
made him as comfortable as possible, and sat beside 
his bed chatting about this, the strangest Christmas 
Day I had ever experienced. After remaining with 
him for about an hour and a half, I again started for 
the front line, where I arrived about i a.m., dog-tired, 
and af once turned in. 
So ended my second Christmas Day af the Front, 
and, as I dozed off fo sleep, I found myself wondering 
whether the next Christmas would find me still in 
France. Should I be listening fo carols and guns 
af the Front, or would the message of the bells peal 
from a church in an adjacent street af home, 
and announce the coming of another Christmas fo 
me and mine ? 



]3oxing Day--]3ut No Pantomime--Lire in the Trenches--A Smper 
at Work--Sinking a Mine Shaft--The Cheery Influence of an 
Irish Padre--A Cemetery ]3ehind the Lines--Pathetic Inscrip- 
tions and Mementoes on Dead Heroes' Graves--I Get Into a 
Pretty Warm Corner--And Have Some Difficulty in Getting Out 
Again--But All's Well that Ends Well. 

B OXING DAY! But nothing out of the 
ordinary happened. I filmed the Royal 
Welsh Fusiliers en route for the trenches. 
As usual, the weather was impossible, and the troops 
came up in motor-buses. At the sound of a whistle, 
they formed up in line and stopped, and the men 
scrambled out and stood to attention by the road- 
side. They were going to the front line. They gave 
me a parting cheer, and a smile that they knew 
would be seen by the people in England--perchance 
by their own parents. 
I went along the famous La Bassée Road--the most 
fiercely contested stretch in that part of the country. 
It was literally lined with shell-destroyed houses, 
large and small; châteaux and hovels. All had 
been levelled to the ground by the Huns. I filmed 
various scenes of the Coldstreams, the Irish and the 
Grenadier Guards. At the furthermost point of the 
road to which cars are allowed shells started to fall 
rather heavily, so, not wishing to argue the point 
with them, I took cover. When the " strafing " 
ceased I filmed other interesting scenes, and then 
returned to my headquarters. 
The next day was very interesting, and rather 
F 6 5 


exciting. I was to go to the front trenches and get 
some scenes of the men at work under actual con- 
ditions. Proceeding by the Road, I reached the 
Croix Rouge crossing, which was heavily " strafed " 
the previous day. Hiding the car under cover of a 
partly demolished house, and strapping the camera 
on my back, my orderly carrymg the tripod, I 
started out to walk the remaining distance. I had 
not gone far when a sentry advised me hot to proceed 
further on the road, but to take to the trench lining 
it, as the thoroughfare from this point was in full 
view of the German artillery observers. Not wishing 
to be shelled unnecessarily, I did as he suggested. 
"And don't forger to keep your head down, sir," 
was his last remark. So bending nearly double, I 
proceeded. As a further precaution, I kept my man 
behind me at a distance of about twenty yards. 
Several rimes high explosives and shrapnel came 
unpleasantly near. 
Presently I came upon a wooden tramway running 
at right angles to the road. My instructions were to 
proceed along it until I came to " Signpost Lane." 
Why it was so dubbed I was unable to discover, but 
one thing I was certainly not kept in ignorance of 
for long, and that was that it was perpetually under 
heavy shell-fire by the Germans. They were 
evidently under the impression that it xvas the route 
taken by our relief parties going to the trenches at 
appointed rimes during the day, and so they fairly 
raked it with shell-fire. 
Unfortunately I happened to arrive on one of 
these occasions, and I knew it. Shells dropped al1 
round us. Hardly a square yard of ground seemed 
untouched. Under such conditions it was no good 
standing. I looked round for cover, but there was 
none. The best thing to do under the circumstances 
was fo go straight on, trust to Providence, and make 
for the communication trenches with all speed. I 


doubled like a hare over the intervening ground, and 
I was glad when I reached the trenches, for once 
there, unless a shell bursts directly overhead, or falls 
on top of you, the chances of getting hit are very 
I was now in the sniping zone, and could con- 
tinually hear the crack of a Hun rifle, and the result- 
ing thud of a bullet striking the mud or the sand- 
bags, first one side then the other. The communica- 
tion trenches seemed interminable, and, as we neared 
the front line, the mud got deeper and parts of the 
trench were quite water-logged. 
Plod, plod, plod; section after section, traverse 
after traverse. Suddenly I came upon a party of 
sappers mending the parapet top with newly filled 
sandbags. Af that particular section a shell had 
dropped fairly near and destroyed if, and anyone 
walking past that gap stood a very good chance of 
having the top of his head taken off. These men 
were filling up the breach. " Keep your head well 
down, sir," shouted one, as I came along. " They " 
(meaning the'Germans) " have got this place 
i: Down went my head, and I passed the gap safely. 
. We were now well up in the firing trench. Fixing 
the camera, and the test of the apparatus, I began 
taking scenes of actual life and conditions in the 
trenches--that mysterious land about which millions 
have read but have never had the opportunity of 
seeing. No mere verbal description would suffice fo 
descÆibe them. Every minute the murderous crack 
of rifles and the whir of machine-guns rang out. 
Death hovered all round. In front the German 
rifles, above the bursting shrapnel, each shell 
scattering ifs four hundred odd leaden bullets far 
and wide, killing or wounding any_unfortunate man 
who happened to be in the way. « .... " 
L-The trenches looked as if a giant cataclysm of 



Nature had taken place. The whole earth had been 
upheaved, and in each of the mud-hills men had 
burrowed innumerable paths, seven feet deep. It 
was hard to distinguish men from mud. The former 
were literally caked from head to foot with the 
latter. I filmed the men at work. There were 
several snipers calmly smoking their cigarettes and 
taking careful aire at the enemy. 
" Sure, sir," remarked one burly Irish Guardsman, 
" and he'll never bob his  head up any more. 
It's him l've been afther this several hours ! " And 
as coolly as if he had been at a rifle range at home, 
the man discharged the empty cartridge-case and 
stood with his rifle, motionless as a rock, his eyes 
like those of an eaglc. 
All this rime it was raining hard. I worked my 
way along the never-ending traverses. Coming upon 
a mount of sandbags, I enquired of an officer present 
the nature and cause of its formation. He bade me 
follow him. At one corner a narrow, downward path 
came into view. Trudging after him, I entered this 
strange shelter. Inside it was quite dark, but in a 
few seconds, when my eyes had got used to the 
conditions, I observed a hole in the centre of the 
floor about rive feet square. 
Peering over the edge, I sav that the shaft vas 
about twenty-fivefeet deep, and that there was a light 
at the bottom. It then dawned upon me what if 
really was. It was a mine-shaft. At the bottom, 
men vorked at their deadly occupation, burrowing 
at right angles under our own trenches (under 
" No Man's Land '.') and under the German lines. 
They laid their mmes, and at the appointed rime 
exploded them, thus causing a great amount of 
damage fo the enemy's parapets and trenches, and 
killing large numbers of the occupants. 
Retracing my steps, I fixed the camera up and 

filmed the men entering the mines and others bring- 
ing up the excavated earth in sandbags and placing 
them on the outside of the barricade. Then I paused 
fo film the men af work upon a trench road. Think- 
ing I could obtain a better view from a point in the 
distance, I started off for if, bent nearly double, 
when a warning shout from an officer bade me be 
careful. I reached the point. Although about fifty 
yards behind the firing trench, I was under the 
impression that I was still sheltered by the parapet. 
Evidently I had raised my head too high while fixing 
up the tripod, for with a murderous whistle two 
bullets " zipped " by overhead. I must be more 
careful if I wanted fo get away with a whole skin ; 
so bending low, I filmed the scene, and then returned. 
While proceeding along the line, I filmed the 
regimental padre of the Irish Guards wading through 
the mud and exchanging a cheery word with every 
man he passed. What a figure he was! Tall and 
upright, with a long dark beard, and a voice that 
seemed ldnd and cheery enough fo influence even 
the dead. He inspired confidence wherever he went. 
He stay.ed awhile to talk fo several men who were 
sitting m their dug-outs pumping the water out 
before they could enter. His words seemed fo make 
the men work with redoubled vigour. Then he 
passed on. 
Along this section, af the back of the dug-outs, 
were innumerable white crosses, leaning af all angles, 
in the mud. They were the last resting-place of our 
dead heroes. On each cross a comrade had wrfften 
a short inscription, and some of these, though simple, 
and at rimes badly spelt, revealed a pathos and a 
feeling that almost brought tears fo the eyes. For 
M1 ifs slime and mud it was the most beautiful 
cemetery I bave ever seen. On some of the graves 
were a few wildflowers. No wreaths; no marble 
headstones; no elaborate ornamentation; but in 

their place a battered cap, a rusty rifle or a mud- 
covered haversack, the treasured belongings of the 
I had barely finished filming this scene when with 
a shriek several shells came hurtling overhead from 
the German guns and burst about a hundred yards 
behind otr firing line. Quickly adjusting the camera, 
I covered the section with my lens. In a few seconds 
more shells came over, and turning the handle I 
filmed them as they burst, throwing up enormous 
quantifies of earth. The Huns were evidently firing 
at something. What that something was I soon 
round out. An enemy observer had seen a small 
working party crossing an open space. The guns 
immediately opened tire. Whether they inflicted 
any casualties I do hot know, but a few minutes 
later the saine party of men passed me as though 
nothing had happened. 
The rain was still falling, and the mist getting 
heavy, so I decided to make my way back to head- 
quarters. Packing up, and bidding adieu to the 
officers, I started on the return journey through the 
communication trenches. One officer told me to go 
back the saine way, via " Signpost Lane." " You 
will manage to get through before their evening 
' strafing,' " he called out. After wearily trudging 
through nearly a toile of trenches, I came out at 
" Signpost Lane," and I ara never likely to forget 
We had left the shelter of the trench, and were 
hurrying, nearly doubled, across a field, when a 
German observer spotted us. The next minute 
" whizzbangs " started falling around us like rain. 
No matter which way I turned, the tarnation things 
seemed to follow and burst with a deafening crash. 
At last, I reached the crossing, and was making my 
way down the trench lining the road, when a shell 
dropped and exploded hot thirty feet ahead. But 


on I went, for a miss is as good as a mile. About a 
hundred yards further on was the battered shell of 
a farm-house. When almost up to if a couple of 
shells dropped fairly in the middle of it and showered 
the bricks all round. A fairly warm spot ! 
I had ]ust reached the corner of the building when 
I heard the shriek of a shell coming nearer. I guessed 
if was pretty close, and without a moment's hesita- 
tion dropped in the mud and water of a small ditch, 
and not a moment too soon for with a dull thud the 
shell struck and burst hardly seven feet from me. 
Had I hot fallen down these lines would never bave 
been written. Picking myself up, I hurried on. 
Still the shells continued fo drop, but fortunately 
at a greater distance. When I reached Croix Rouge, 
I was literally encased in mud. Our progress along 
the road had been anxiously watched by the sentries 
and by my chauffeur. 
" Well, sir," said the latter, with a sigh of relief, 
" I certainly thought they had you that time." 



A Visit fo the Old German Trcnches--leveals a Scene of Horror 
that Dcfies Description--Dodging the Shells--I Lose the Handle 
of My Camcra--And then Lose bly Man--The Effect of Shell-fire 
on a Novice--In the Village of Ncuve Chapellc--A Scene of 
Devastation--The Figure of the Lonely Christ. 

I T occurred to me that an interesting film might 
be ruade out of scenes of the battlefield of 
Neuve Chapelle. The very thought of it 
conjured up a reeking, whirling mass of humanity, 
fighting with all the most devilish, death-dealing 
weapons that had ever been conceived by the mind 
of man. I decided to do a picture of the scene, and 
took with me an orderly who had never been under 
tire before. 
We proceeded along the La Bassée Road, and af 
the Croix Rouge proceeded on foot towards Neuve 
Chapelle. As usual, Bosche shelling was so consistent 
in its intensity that we thought it advisable to 
spread out a bit in case a shell burst near us. My 
guide was Major , who commanded one of the 
regiments holding the ground on the other side of 
Neuve Chapelle. 
Eventually I reached the assembly trenches, 
where our men concentrated for the great attack. 
In shape they were j ust ordinary trenches, branches 
off a main gallery, but they were in an awful state 
of decay, and literally torn to shreds by shell-fire. 
What tales these old sandbags might tell if only they 
could speak, tales of our brave boys and our Indian 
troops that would live for ever in the history of man- 


kind. Standing upon one of the parapets, I looked 
round, and marvelled that it was possible in so 
small a section of ground so many men were hidden 
there. Quickly formulating my programme, I 
decided to begin at the assembly trenches, and 
follow in imagination the path of the troops during 
the battle, ending up in the ruins of Neuve Chapelle 
village itself, which I could see in the distance. 
" Be careful," came the warning voice of a major, 
" the whole of the ground here is in view of the 
Bosche artillery observers. If they see anyone mov- 
ing about they'll start 'strafing' like anything, 
and I assure you they do it very conscientiously." 
I therefore kept as low as possible. 
Fixing up the camera, I started to film the scenes 
from the assembly trenches to the old first line 
trench, and then into the stretch of ground known 
as "No Man's Land." Finishing this particular 
picture, we went along to the old German trenches, 
and during the whole time we bent nearly double, 
to keep under the line of the old parapets. In the 
old German trenches the frightful effect of modcrn 
shell-fire was only too apparent. The whole line, 
as far as one could see, was absolutely smashed to 
atoms. Only the bases of the parapets were left, 
and in the bottom of the trenches was an accumula- 
tion of water and filth. It was a disgusting sight. 
The whole place was littered with old German equip- 
ment, and whilst wading and splashing along through 
the water I saw such things, and such stenches 
assailed my nostrils, as I shall hot easily forget. 
Dotted all over the place, hall in and hall out of the 
mud and water, were dead bodies. 
But why recount the horrors of the scene ? 
Imagine the sights and the smell. How I got 
through that section of trench Heaven only knows. 
It was simply ghastly. 
To escape from the scene I hurried to the end of 

the trench and again crossed " No Man's Land." 
The sight here was not so bad as in the trenches. 
To obtain a good view of the spot I got up very 
gingerly on top of the parapet, fixed the machine, 
and filmed the scene. But this enterprise nearly 
put an end fo my adventure, and also to the other 
rnernbers of the party. I had finished taking, and had 
got my camera down on the stand, in the bottom of 
the trench, and was on the point of unscrewing if, 
when two shells came hurtling overhead and ex- 
ploded about forty feet away. The Major ran up to 
me and shouted that I had been seen, and told me 
fo take cover at once. He and the others, suiting 
the action to the word, dived below the parapets. 
Snatching the camera off its stand, I followed, and 
paddled as close as possible fo the mud. The shells 
began falling in quick succession. Nearer and nearer 
they came. Some just cleared the parapet top ; some 
burst in front, some immediately behind. 
" They have got our line; let's shift along 
further," some one said. 
From one point of the trench to the other we 
dodged. The shells seemed fo follow us wherever 
we went. Crash ! One struck the crumbling parapet 
on the very spot where, a few seconds before, I had 
been sheltering. In the rush for cover I had lost the 
handle of the camera, and as if was the only one I 
had there, I began fo work my way back fo find if. 
" Don't be a fool," called the Major. " If you 
show yourself they'll have you, as sure as eggs are 
eggs." But my anxiety fo obtain pictures of the 
bursting shells was too much for me. I set to fo 
make a handle of wood. Looking round, I spotted 
an old tree-trunk, behind which I could take cover. 
Doubling towards it, I crouched down, and finding 
a piece of wood and an old nail I fashioned a handle 
of a sort. 
At this moment a funny incident occurred. I had 

momentarily forgotten the existence of the other 
members of the party. I was hoping against hope 
that they had escaped injury. What had happened 
to them ? Where were they ? It almost seemed as 
if my thoughts were communicated by telepathy to 
one of them, for just above the parapet in Iront of me 
rose the head of Captain -- 
"I say, Malins," he said, " did you find your 
handle ? "' 
The words were barely out of his mouth when a 
shell shot by. Captain 's head went down like 
a iack-in-the-box. The sight was too funny for 
words. If he hadn't ducked the shell would bave 
taken his head off, for if struck the ground and 
exploded, as we found out afterwards, only ten feet 
For three-quarters of an hour this " strafing " 
continued, then giving Bosche ten minutes to settle 
down we came out of our holes and corners. What 
sights we were! 
Collecting my apparatus, I again crossed " No 
Man's Land," and carefully made my way into the 
village of Neuve Chapelle itsclf. To describe it 
would only be to repeat what I said of the devastated 
city of Ypres. There was nothing whole standing. 
The place was smashed and ground down out of all 
recognition. And yet, from its solitary high position 
upon the cross, the figure of Christ looked down upon 
the scene. It was absolutely untouched. It stood 
there--this sacred emblem of our Faith--grim and 
gaunt against the sky. A lonely sentinel. The scene 
was a sermon in itself, and mere words fail to describe 
the deep impression it made upon me. 



How I Marie a" Hide-up "--And Secured a Fine Picture of the Prince 
Inspccting some Gun-pits--His Anxiety fo Avoid the Camcra-- 
And His Subsequent Remarks--How a German Block-house was 
I31own to Smithereens--And the Way I Managed to Film if 
Under Fire. 

T O-DAY has certainly been most interesting, 
and not without excitement. I was to film 
the bombardment of a concrete German 
block-house from the Guards' trenches at 
Previous to starting out from news came 
throug.h from headquarters that the Prince of Wales 
was golng to inspect some guns with Lord Cavan. 
The staff officer who told me this knew the trouble 
I had previously experienced in trying to obtain 
good films of the Prince, and warned me to be very 
careful. I enquired the time of his arrival at the 
gun-pits. So far as I could ascertain, it was to be at 
11.3o a.m. I therefore decided to be there half an 
hour earlier, and make a " hide-up " for myself and 
camera. I was determined to succeed this time. 
Proceeding by way of , which place has suffered 
considerable bombardment, the church and surround- 
ing buildings having been utterly destroyed, I stayed 
awhile to film the interior and exterior of the church, 
and so add another to the iniquitous record of the 
Bosche for destroying everything held sacred. 
A short distance outside the town I came upon 
the gun positions, and crossing a field--or rather 
shall I say a mud-pond, for the mud very nearly 
reached my knees--I selected a point of vantage at 


one side of a hedge which ran at right angles to the 
gun-pits. There was only one path fit to traverse, 
and getting hold of an officer, I asked him if we 
could so arrange it that the Prince started from the 
further end of the path and came towards camera. 
He said he would try. Fixing up the camera, I got 
in front of the hedge facing the path, and completely 
hid all signs of the machine with bracken and 
branches of trees. Pushing the lens well through 
the hedge, I ripped open an old sandbag, cut a hole 
in it and hung it on the hedge, with my lens pointing 
through.. By such means it was quite impossible for 
anyone in front to see either myself or the camera, 
and having completed my preparations, I settled 
down to patiently await the arrival of the Prince. 
In about hall an hour he came along with Lord 
Cavan, a gencral, and other officers of the staff. 
True to his promise, Captain  got the Prince to 
follow the path I had indicated. When he arrived 
at the further end of the row of guns, I started film- 
ing. He came direct towards the camera, but when 
within fifteen feet of it the noise of handle turning 
attracted his attention. He stood fully fifteen 
seconds gazing in my direction, evidently wondering 
what it was on the other side of the hedge. Then he 
passed out of range. I hurried across the field with 
my aeroscope (an automatic camera), and stood at 
the end of the path waiting for him to pass. 
In a few moments he came along, and I started 
filming. The smiles of the staff officers were pleasing 
to behold. One of them remarked to the Prince 
that it was quite impossible to escape this time. As 
he passed inside the farm-house, I heard him remark : 
" That was the man I tried to dodge on Christmas 
Day. How did he know I was coming here ? Who 
told him ? " The enquiry was followed by some 
good-natured laughter, and feeling satisfied with my 
work, I hurried away. 

I had now to proceed to the front line trenches, 
taking the car, as far as possible, along the road. I 
had hidden it under cover of some ruined buildings, 
and taking the camera, and bidding my chauffeur 
bring the tripod, I started out. A captain conducted 
me. We quickly got to the communication trenches. 
As usual, a good deal of " strafing " was going on, 
and the German snipers were vcry busy. When we 
reached the first line firing trenches, I peered over 
the parapet through a periscope, but round I was too 
far south of the block-house. So I proceeded higher 
up, and about eight hundred yards further on came 
a traverse, which I had chosen, and the loophole 
through which I was going to film the scene. The 
distance to the German block-house from where I 
was standiag was about xSo yards. 
The thickness of the parapet, I should say, was 
roughly four feet; and through the parapet vas a 
conical, square-shaped, wooden cylinder. In front, 
under cover of darkness, the night previous, I had 
had two sandbags placed, so that when everything 
was ready, and my camera fixed, a slight push from 
the back with a stick would shift them clear of the 
opening. Fixing up the camera, I very carefully 
pinned an empty sandbag over the back of the 
aperture, with the object of keeping any daylight 
from streaming through. I placed a long stick 
ready to push the sandbags down. I intended doing 
that after the first shell had fallen. 
This particular loophole had been severely sniped 
all the morning, the Germans evidently thinking it 
was a new Maxim-gun emplacement. Time was 
drawing near. I thought I would try vith the stick 
whether the sandbags would fall easily. Evidently 
I gave them too vigorous a push, for the next moment 
they came toppling down. Knowing such a move- 
ment as that was certain fo attract the German 
snipers' attention, I quickly ducked my head down 


and hoped our 9-2's would soon open tire. I did hot 
relish the idea of having a bullet through my camera. 
Sure enough the Germans had seen the movement, 
for bullets began battering into sandbags around the 
loophole. At that moment the C.O. withdrew the 
whole of the men from that section of the trench, 
and I was left alone. But the prospect of getting a 
fine film drove all other thoughts ff'oto my mind. 
A few minutes later the first shell came hurtling 
over and exploded within ten yards of the block- 
house. I started filming. Shell after shell I recorded 
as it exploded, first on one side then on the other, 
until at last the eighth shell fell directly on top of the 
block-house, and with a tremendous explosion the 
whole fabric disappeared in a cloud of smoke and 
flame. Debfis of every description rattlcd in the 
trench all round me, and continued to fall for some 
moments, but luckily I was hot hit. Being unable 
to resist the temptation of looking over the parapet, 
I jumped up and gazed at the remains of the building 
which now consisted of nothing more than a twisted, 
churned-up mass of concrete and iron rails. Our 
artillery had done its work, and done it well. 



Greeted on Arrival in the 1Ruined City of Ypres by a Furious Fusillade 
--I Film the Cloth I-IalI and Cathedral, and Have a Narrow 
Escape--A Once 13eautiful Town Now Littlc More Than a 
Heap of Ruins---Arras a City of the Dead--Its Cathedral 
Destroyed--I3ut Cross and Crucifixcs Unharmed. 

T O Ypres! This was the order for the day. 
The news gave me a thrill of excitement. 
The thunder of the big guns grew louder 
as we approached the front line, until they seemed 
fo merge into one continuous roar. 
Stopping on the road, I asked if the Germans 
were " strafing " to-day. 
" Yes," said one of out military police, " they were 
shelling us pretty heavily this morning: you will 
have fo be very careful moving about inside. Bosche 
machines are always up in the air, taking bearings 
for the guns." 
Arriving af the outskirts of the ruined town, we 
were pulled up by a sentry, who, finding out papers 
in order, allowed us to proceed. Af that moment a 
furious fusillade of gun-fire attracted our attention, 
and three shr;ll blasts of a whistle rang out; then 
we heard a cry, " Every one under cover ! " Stop- 
ping the car, I immediately jumped out, and stood 
under cover of a broken-down wall, and looking up, 
could see the cause of this activity. 
High in the air, about eight fo ten thousand feet, 
was a Bosche aeroplane, and while I was watchhg 
it shrapnel shells from out anti-aircraft guns were 


exploding round it like rain. A great number were 
fired at it. The whole sky was flecked with white 
and black patches of smoke, but hot one hit was 
recorded. The machine seemed to sail through that 
inferno as if nothing were happening, and at last it 
disappeared in the haze over its own lines. Only 
then were we allowed to proceed. 
I had made a rough programme of what to film, 
and decided to start from the Grand Place. In a 
few words, I may say that I filmed the Place from 
the remains of the Cloth Hall, the Cathedral, and 
various districts of the town, but to try and describe 
the awful condition of what was once the most 
beautiful town in Belgium would be to attempt 
the impossible. No pen, and no imagination, could 
do justice to it. The wildest dreams of Dante 
could hot conjure up such terrible, such awful 
The immensity of the outrage gripped me perhaps 
more completely when I stood upon the heap of 
rubble that was once the most beautiful piece of 
architecture of ris kind in all the world. The Cloth 
Hall, and the Cathedral, looked exactly as if some 
mighty scythe had swept across the ground, level- 
ling everything in ifs path. The monster Is-inch 
German shells had dismembered and torn open the 
buildings brick by brick. Confusion and devastation 
reigned everywhere, no marrer in what direction you 
looked. It was as if the very heavens and the 
earth had crashed together, crushing everything 
between them out of al1 semblance to what it had 
The ground was literally pock-marked dth enemy 
shell-holes. The stench of decaying bodies followed 
me everywhere. At times the horror of if all seemed 
to freeze the understanding, and it was difficult to 
realise that one was part and parcel of this world of 
ours. Literally, horror was piled upon horror. And 


this was the twentieth century of which men boasted ; 
this was civilisation! Built by men's hands, the 
result of centuries of work. Now look at them; 
those beautiful architectural monuments, destroyed, 
in a few months, by the vilest spawn that ever 
contaminated the earth. A breed that should and 
would be blotted out of existence as effectively as 
they had blotted out the town of Ypres. 
Beneath one large building lay buried a number 
of our gallant soldiers, who were sheltering there, 
wounded. The position was given away by spies, 
with the result that the Germans poured a concen- 
trated tire of shells upon the helpless fellows, and the 
shelling was so terrific that the whole building 
collapsed and buried every living soul beneath the 
As I stood upon the heap tears came into my eyes, 
and the spirits of the brave lads seemed to call out 
for vengeance. And even as I stood and pondered, 
the big guns rang out, the very concussion shaking 
bricks and dust upon me as I stood there. While 
filming the scene, German shells came hurtling and 
shrieking overhead, exploding just behind me and 
scattering the debris of the ruins high above and 
whizzing in my direction. 
To obtain a good view-point, I clambered upon a 
mount of bricks nearly fifty feet high, all that was 
left of the Cathedral Tower. From that eminence 
I could look right down into the interior, and I 
succeeded in taking an excellent film of it. While 
doing so, two German shells exploded a short dis- 
tance away. Whether it was the concussion or pieces 
of shell that struck it, I do not know--probably the 
latter--but large pieces of stone and granite fell at 
my feet, and one piece hit my shoulder. So I quickly 
ruade my way to more healthy quarters, and even 
as I left the shells overhead began to shriek with 
redoubled fury, as if the very legions of hell were 



moaning, aghast at the terrible crime which the 
fiendish Huns had perpetrated. 
Arras, although hot by any means as badly 
damaged as Ypres, is one of the most historical and 
beautiful places systematically destroyed by the 
Germans. The Cathedral, the wonderful 1V[useum, 
the Hôtel de Ville, once the pride of this broken city, 
are now no more. Arras provides yet another 
blasting monument of the unspeakable methods of 
warfare as practised by the descendants of Attila, 
the Hun. The city was as silent as the tomb when 
I visited it. It was dead in every sense of the word ; 
a place only fit for the inhabitants of the nether 
world. Only when the German shells came scream- 
ing overhead with unearthly noise, in an empty 
street, was the silence broken in this city of the 
I visited the ruined Cathedral, and filmed various 
scenes of the interior and extefior, having to climb 
over huge mounds of falle-n masonry fo obtain my 
best view-points. In places all that was lcft standing 
was the bare walls. The huge columns, with their 
beautiful sculptures, no longer able to support the 
roof, still stood like gfim sentinels watching over 
their sacred charge.. And yet, despite the unholy 
bombardment to which the building had been sub- 
i ected, three things remained unharmed and un- 
touched in the midst of this scene of awful desola- 
tion. The three crucifixes, with the figures of Christ 
still upon them, gazed down upon this scene of 
horror. And high upon the topmost joint of the 
south wall stood the cross, the symbol of Christianity 
--unharmed. The united endeavours of the Powers 
of Evil could not dislodge that sacred emblem from 
its topmost pinnacle. 
I left the Cathedral and walked along the grass- 
covered streets, pock-marked by innumerable shell- 
holes, and every now and then I had to dive into 



some cellar for shelter from falling shells. At the 
Hôtel de Ville the same sight presented itself. The 
bombardment had reduced its walls to little more 
than a tottering shell, which fell to pieces at the 
merest touch. 



Filming Within Forty-five Yards of the German Trenches--Watch- 
ing for " Minnies "--Officers' Quarters--" Something " Bcgins 
to Happen--An Early Morning ]3ombardment--Develops Into 
the Battle of St. EloiWhich I Film trom Out First-Line 
Trench---And Obtain a Fine Picture. 

A BOMBARDMENT was to take place. A 
rather vague statement, and a comlnon 
enough occurrence; but not so this one. 
I had a dira idea--not without foundation, as it 
turned out--that there was more in this particular 
bombardment than appeared on the surface. Why 
this thought crossed my mind I do not know. 
But there it was, and I also felt that it would 
somehow turn out seriously for me before I had 
I was to go fo a certain spot to sec a general--and 
obtain permission to choose a good view-point for 
my machine. My knowledge of the topography 
of this particular part of the line was none too 
Reaching the place I met the General, who said, 
in a jocular way, when I had explained my mission : 
" Have you corne to me to-day by chance, or have 
you heard something ? " 
This remark, " Had I heard something ? " con- 
firmed my opinion that something was going to 
happen. Without more ado, the General told me 
the bombardment would take place on the morrow, 
somew? ere about 5.30 a.m. 


" In that case," I said, " it will be quite impossible 
to obtain any photographs. Anyway," I added, 
"if you will permit me, sir, I will sleep in the front 
line trenches to-night, and so be ready for anything 
that may happen. I could choose a good spot for 
my machine this afternoon." 
" Well," he replied, " it's a hot corner," and going 
to the section maps he told me out front line was 
only forty-five yards away from the Bosche. "You 
will, of course, take the risk, but, honestly speaking, 
I don't expect to see you back again." 
This was anything but cheerful, but being used to 
tight corners I did hot mind the risk, so long as I got 
some good films. 
The General then gave me a letter of introduction 
to another general, who, he said, would give me ail 
the assistance he could. Armed with this document, 
I started out in company of a staff officer, who was 
fo guide me to the Brigade headquarters. Arriving 
there (it was the most advanced point to which cars 
were allowed to go), I obtained two orderlies, gave 
one my aeroscope the other the tripod, and strapping 
another upon my back, we started off on a two-rnile 
walk over a small hill, and through communication 
trenches fo the section. 
Af a point which boasted the naine of " Cooker 
Farm," which consisted of a few dug-outs, well 
below ground level, and about rive by six feet high 
inside by seven feet square, I interviexved two officers, 
who 'phoned to the front line, telling them of my 
arrival. They wished me all good luck on my 
venture, and gave me an extra relay of men to get 
me to the front. A considerable amount of shelling 
was going on overhead, but none, fortunately, 
came in my immediate neighbourhood. The nearest 
was about fifty yards away. 
From out front line trenches the Bosche lines were 
only forty-five yards away, therefore dangers were 


tobe anticipated from German snipers. A great 
many of out men had actually been shot through 
the loophole of plates. I immediately reported my- 
self fo the officer in charge, who was resting in a dug- 
out, built in the parapet. He was pleased fo see me, 
and promised me every assistance. I told him I 
wished to choose a point of vantage from which I 
could film the attack. Placing my apparatus in the 
comparative safety of the dug-out, I accompanied 
him outside. Rifle-fire was continuous ; shells from 
out 6o-pounders and 4"2's were thundering past 
overhead, and on either side " Minnîes " (German 
bombs) were falling and exploding with terrific force, 
smashing out parapets and dug-outs as if they had 
been the thinnest of matchwood. 
Fortunately for us these interesting novelties 
could be seen coming. Men are always on the look- 
out for " Minnies," and when one bas been fired from 
the Bosche if rises fo a height of about rive hundred 
feet, and then with a sudden curve descends. At 
that point if is almost possible fo calculate the exact 
whereabouts of ifs fall. Every one watches if ; the 
space is quickly cleared, and it falls and explodes 
harmlessly. Sometimes the explosion throws the 
earth up fo a height of nearly 15o feet. 
While I was deciding upon the exact poht of the 
parapet upon which I would place the camera, a 
sudden cry of " Minnie " was heard. Looking up, 
I saw if was almost overhead, and with a quick rush 
and a dive I disappeared into a dug-out. I had 
barely got my head into if before " Minnie " fell 
and blew the mud in all directions, covering my 
back plentifully, but fortunately doing no other 
Eventually I decided upon the position, and look- 
ing through my periscope saw the German trenches 
stretching away on the right for a distance of half a 
toile, as the ground dipped into a miniature valley. 


From this point I could get an excellent film, and if 
the Germans returned our fire I could revolve the 
camera and obtain the resulting explosions in our 
The farm-house where I spent the night was about 
nine hundred yards behind the firing track. All that 
now remained of a once prosperous group of farm 
buildings were the battered walls, but with the aid 
of a plentiful supply of sandbags and corrugated 
iron the cellars were made comparatively comfort- 
By the rime I reached there it was quite dark, 
but by carefully feeling my way with the aid of a 
stick I stumbled down the rive steps into the cellar, 
and received a warm welcome from Captain , 
who introduced me to his brother officers. The.y.all 
seemed astounded at my mission, never imagmlng 
that a moving picture man would come into the 
Iront battle line to take pictures. 
The place was about ten feet square ; the roof was 
a lean-to, and was supported in the centre by three 
tree-trunks. Four wooden frames, upon which was 
stretched some wire-netting, served as bedsteads ; 
in a corner stood a bucket-fire, the fumes and smoke 
going up an improvised chimney of petrol tins. In 
the centre was a rough table. One corner of it was 
kept up by a couple of boxes ; other boxes served as 
Rough as if was, it was like heaven compared with 
other places at which I bave stayed. By the light 
of two candles, placed in biscuit tins, we sat round, 
and chatted upon kinematograph and other topics 
until 11.3o p.m. The Colonel of another regiment 
then came in fo arrange about the positions of the 
relieving battalions which were coming in on the 
following day. He also arranged for his sniping 
expert and men to accompany the patrolling parties, 
which were going out at midnight in " No Man's 

Land " to mend mines and spot German loop- 
A message came through by 'phone from Brigade 
headquarters that the rime of attack was 5.45 a.m. 
I could have jumped for joy; if only the sky was 
clear, there would be enough light for my work. The 
news was received in quite a matter-of-fact way by 
the others present, and after sending out carrying 
parties for extra ammunition for bomb guns, they 
all turned in to snatch a few hours' sleep, with the 
exception of the officer on duty. 
At twelve o'clock I turned in. Rolling myself in a 
blanket and using my trench-coat and boots as a 
pillow, I lay and listened to the continual crack of 
riite-fire, and the thud of bullets striking and burying 
themselves in the sandbags of our shelter. Now and 
then I dozed, and presently I fell asleep. I suddenly 
awakened with a start. What caused it I know hot ; 
everything seemed unnaturally quiet; with the 
exception of an isolated sniper, the greatest war in 
history might bave been thousands of toiles away. 
I lit a cigarette, and was slowly puffing it (rime, 
4.15 a.m.), when a tremendous muffted roar rent the 
air; the earth seemed to quake. I expected the 
roof of our shelter to collapse every minute. The 
shock brought my other companions tumbling out. 
" Something " was happening. 
The rumble had barely subsided, when it seemed 
as if all the guns in France had opened rapid battery 
tire at the saine moment. Shells poured over our 
heads towards the German positions in hundreds. 
The shrieking and earsplitting explosives were 
terrific, from the sharp bark of the 4"2 to the heavy 
rumble and rush of the 9-inch " How." The 
Germans, surprised in their sleep, seemed absolutely 
demoralised.. They were blazing away in all direc- 
tions, firing m the most wild and extraordinary 
manner, anywhere and everywhere. Shells were 

crashing and smashing their way into the remains 
of the outbuildings, and they were literally exploding 
all round. 
Captain instructed lais officers to see what 
had happened to the ammunition party. They dis- 
appeared in the hell of shcll-fire as though it were 
quite an every-day incident. I opened the door, 
climbed the steps, and stood outside. The sight 
which met my eyes was magnificent in its grandeur. 
The heavens were split by shafts of lurid tire. 
Masses of mctal shot in all directions, leaving a trail 
of sparks behind them ; bits of shell shrieked past 
my hcad and buried themsclves in the walls and 
sandbags. One large missile fell in an open space 
about forty feet on my left, and exploded with a 
deafcning, ear-splitting crash. At the same moment 
anothcr exploded directly in front of me. In- 
stinctively I ducked my head. The blinding flash 
and frightful noise for the moment stunned me, and 
I could taste the exploding gas surrounding me. I 
stumbled down the steps into the cellar, and it was 
some minutes before I could see clearly again. My 
companions were standing there, calmly awaiting 
The frightful din continued. It was nothing but 
high explosives, high explosive shrapnel, ordinary 
shrapnel, trench bombs, and bullets from German 
machine-guns. One incessant hail of metal. Who 
on earth could live in it ? What worried me most 
was that there was hot sufficient light to film the 
scene ; but, thank Hcaven, it was gradually getting 
It was now 5 a.m. The shelling continued with 
increasing intensity. I got my apparatus together, 
and with two men decided to make my vay to the 
position in the front line. 
Shouldering my camera I led the way, followed 
by the men ata distance of twenty yards. Several 

times on the journ.ey shrapnel balls and splinters 
buried themselves in the mud close by. When I 
reached the firing trench all our men were standing 
to arms, with grim faces, awaiting their orders. I 
fixed up the tripod so that the top of it came levcl 
with out parapet, and fastened the camera upon it. 
It topped the parapet of our firing trench (the 
Germans only forty-five yards away), and to break 
the alignment I placed sandbags on either side of it. 
In this position I stood on my camera case, and 
started to film the Battle of St. Eloi. 
Our shells were dropping in all directions, smash- 
ing the German parapets to pulp and blowing their 
dug-outs sky-high. The explosions looked gorgeous 
against the ever-increasing light in the sky. Look- 
ing through my view-finder, I revolved first on one 
section then on the other; from a close view of 
6-inch shells and " Minnies " bursting to the more 
distant view of our 9.2. Then looking right down 
the line, I filmed the clouds of smoke drifting from 
the.heavy (woolly bears) or high shrapnel, then back 
agam. Shells---shells--shells--bursting masses of 
molten metal, every explosion momentarily shaking 
the earth. 
The Germans suddenly started throwing "Minnies" 
over, so revolving my camera, I filmed them bursting 
over our men. The casualties were very slight. For 
fully an hour I stood there filming this wonderful 
scene, and throughout all the inferno, neither I nor 
my machine was touched. A fragment of shrapnel 
touched my tripod, taking a small piece out of the 
leg. That was ail ! 
Shortly after seven o'clock the attack subsided, 
and as my film had all been used up, I packed and 
returned to my shelter. 
What a " scoop " this was. It was the first film 
that had actually been taken of a British attack. 
What a record. The thing itself had passed. It had 


gone ; yet I had recorded it in my little 7- by 6-inch 
box, and when this terrible devastating war was over, 
and men had returned once again to their homes, 
business men to their offices, ploughmen to their 
ploughs, they would be able to congregate in a room 
and view all over again the fearful shells bursting, 
killing and maiming on that winter's morning of 
March 27th, i916. 



A Very Lively Experience--Choosing a Position for the Camera 
Under Fire--I Get a Taste of GasWitness a Night Attack by 
the Germans--Surprise an Officer by My Appearance in the 
Trenches--And Have One of the Narrowest Escapes--But 
Fortunatcly Get Out with Nothing Worse than a Couple of 
Bullets Through lly Cap. 

T HE weather was very fine when I left 
G.H.Q., but on reaching , to interview 
Colonel in reference to the mining 
section, rain fell heavily. I arrived soon after mid- 
day, and went to the Intelligence Department fo 
report; the C.O. telephoned fo the C. of M. for an 
appointment. It was ruade for nhe o'clock that 
night. Having plenty of rime at my disposal, I 
returned to , and passed a few hours vith some 
friends. In the evening I returned for my appoint- 
ment at the hour named. The Colonel was exceed- 
ingly interested in my project, and was willing to do 
anything to help me. He gave me a letter of intro- 
duction to the Corps Commander of the  Army, 
Brigadier-General , also one to Captain , 
C.O. of the  Mining Section. I was to proceed fo 
General  first, and obtain the permission. 
At eight o'clock the following morning I rushed 
off to the Company H.Q. I met the General leaving 
his château. Having read my letter of introduction, 
he promptly gave his consent. I was to report to 
Major , at H.Q., saying it was quite ail right. 
Thanking the General, I hastened to H.Q., and 
showing his letter and delivering his message, I was 



given a note to Captain , asking him to give me 
every assistance. Before leaving, the Mai or wished 
me success, and asked me whether I was prepared 
to wait until a " blow " came off ? 
" Yes, sir," I replied, " for rive or six days in the 
trenches, if necessary." 
The Colonel had made arrangements with several 
Companies that they were to report immediately to 
th Company when they were going to " blow," 
in order to give me time to go immediately to the 
spot and film it. 
Leaving the Company H.Q., I proceeded to , 
and duly presented the Captain's letter. 
" You have the Corps' permission," said the 
Colonel; " it will now be necessary to obtain the 
Divisional C.O. permit." 
This I eventually obtained. Now if by any chance 
a " blow '" took place opposite either of the other 
Companies, it would be necessary to obtain their 
permission, as they were in another Division. There- 
fore, calling upon a major of that Division, I secured 
the final permit. 
Next morning I left for the front line trenches. 
Reaching --, which was smashed out of all recog- 
nition, we drew up under cover of some ruined walls. 
Shells were falling and bursting among the ruins, 
but these diversions were of such ordinary, everyday 
occurrence that hardly any notice was taken of them. 
If they missed--well, they were gone. If they hit-- 
well, it was war ! 
The Miners, gathering near the " Birdcage " (a 
spot which derives its name from a peculiar ixon cage 
erection at the corner of the road), formed up, and 
proceeded for about three hundred yards to the 
beginning of " Quarry Ally," the ammunition trench 
leading to their particular part of the front line. 
They filed in one by one ; I filmed them meanwhile. 
The journey of thirteen hundred yards to the 


front line was quite an ordinary walk. It was 
interesting to note the different tones of the heavy 
and light shells as they flew overhead, from the dull 
rush of a 9"2 to the shriek of the i8-pounder. I 
reached a Company dug-out. It was certainly one 
of the best I have ever seen. Going down three steps, 
then turning sharply at right angles, I disappeared 
through a four-foot opening ; down more steps to a 
depth of ten feet, then straight for three paces. At 
the end was the main gallery, about twenty-five feet 
long, rive feet in width, and rive feet six inches high. 
Half of it was used for the telephone operator, and 
sleeping accommodation for the orderlies, the other 
half was used as officers' quarters. Several oflïcers 
were busy discussing plans when I arrived. The 
conversation might sound strange and callous to an 
ordinary listener. 
"Well, what's the news ? How's Brother Bosche ?" 
" Bosche r.eported quite near," was the reply. 
" Out shaft lS practically finished, and ready for 
charging. This morning you could distinctly hear 
Bosche speaking. His gallery was getting nearer to 
ours. I told the Sergeant to work only when Bosche 
was doing so." 
" When are you going to ' blow'   " 
" I am not sure of the date, but ' Dinkie ' is going 
to ' poop' in a few days. He's got two tons under 
Bosche. It will be a  fine show; right under his 
trenches. Ought to snip a hundred or so." 
" Well," said another, "I was down in C shaft, 
and could hear Bosche working very hard, as if he 
had got all the world to himself." 
At that moment a tunnelling-sergeant came in, 
and reported that the Bosche was much nearer. 
The listener could distinctly hear talking through 
the 'phone. 
An officer immediately got up and went out with 
the sergeant, one of the speakers meanwhile suggest- 

ing that/3rother/3osche was certainly going to visit 
realms of higher kultur than he had hitherto known. 
Then came a close scrutinising of maps, showing 
shafts in the making and mines ready for" blowing "; 
of sharp orders to the tunnelling-sergeants and fatigue 
parties to bring charges from the magazine. The 
whole thing was fascinating in the extreme. A new 
branch of His Maiesty's Service, and one of the most 
dangerous. To be on duty in a listening-post thirty 
feet underground---in a narrow tunnel, scarcely 
darhag to breathe, listening to German miners mak- 
ing a counter-mine, and gradually picking their way 
nearer and nearer, until at last you can hear their 
conversation--would try the nerves of the strongest 
of men. 
I went out, and ruade my way towards the well- 
known Quarries. Noting several interesting scenes 
of our Scottish battalions at work, I filmed them. 
A most pathetic touch was added to the scene, for a 
neat little graveyard occupied the right-hand corner, 
and about one hundred small crosses vere there. 
I was hot allowed to remain very long. The 
Bosche sent over several aerial torpedoes, vhich 
exploded with terrific force and split up the ground 
as if a z-inch H.E. shell had been at work. Natur- 
ally every one rushed to obtain as much cover as 
possible. I crossed to the other side of the Quarry, 
and entered a small tunnel, which led into a winding 
maze of narrow communication trenches. 
"/3e careful, sir," called a sentry. "I3osche is 
only thirty yards away, and they are plugging this 
corner pretty thoroughly; they're fairly whizzing 
through the sandbags, as if they warn't there, sir. 
They caught my Captain this morning, clean through 
the head. I was a-talking to him, sir, at the rime ; 
the finest gentleman that ever lived ; and the swine 
killed him. l'Il get six of them for him, sir." The 
look in his eyes and the tone of his voice told me he 



was in earnest. I passed on, keeping as low as 
The crater, when I reached it, proved to be one of 
an enormous size. It must bave been quite 15 ° feet 
across. The place had been converted into a 
miniature fort. I noticed how spongy the ground 
was. When walking it seemed as if one was treading 
upon rubber. I casually enquired of an officer the 
cause of it. " Dead bodies," said he ; " the ground 
here is literally choked with them; we date not 
touch it with a spade; the condition is awful. 
There are thousands of them for yards down, and 
when a shell tears away any section of out parapets 
the sight is too ghastly for words." 
At that moment a man yelled out " cover," and, 
looking up, I saw several Bosche rifle grenades falling. 
Shouting to my orderly to take cover with the 
camera, he disappeared into what I thought was a 
dug-out but which I afterwards discovered was an 
incline shaft to a mine. He ruade a running dire, 
and slid clown about four yards belote he pulled 
himself up. Luckily he went first, the camera butting 
up against him. He told us afterwards he thought 
he was really going to the lower regions. 
I dived undei a sandbag emplacement, when the 
grenades went off with a splitting crash, and after 
allowing a few seconds for the pieces to drop, looked 
out. A tragic sight met my gaze. The officer with 
whom I had been speaking a few moments belote 
had, unfortunately, been too late in taking cover. 
One of the grenades had struck him on the head, and 
killed him on the spot. Within a few moments 
some Red Cross men reverently covered the body 
with a mackintosh sheet and bore it away. One 
more cross would be added to the little graveyard 
in the Quarry. 
Shortly after I met an officer of the Mining Section. 
He was just going down into the gallery to listen to 

Bosche working a counter-mine. Did I care fo 
accompany him ? " Don't speak above a whisper," 
he said. 

He disappeared through a hole about three feet 
square. I followed, clinging fo the muddy sides 
like a limpet, hall sliding, hall crawling, in the im- 
penetrable darkness. We went on, seemingly for a 
great distance; in reality it was only about fifteen 
yards. Then we came fo a level gallery, and in the 
distance, by the aid of a glow-lamp, I could see my 
companion crouching dovn, with a warning finger 
upon his lips to assure silence. The other side of him 
was a man of the tunnelling section, who had been 
at his post listening. The silence was uncmmy after 
the din outside. In a few moments I heard a queer, 
muffled tap--tap--tap, coming through the earth 
on the left. I crept closer to my companion, and 
with my mouth close to his ear enquired whether 
that was the Bosche working. 
" Yes," he said, " but listen with this," giving 
me an instrument very similar to a doctor's stetho- 
I put it to my ear and rested the other end upon 
a ledge of mud. The effect was like some one speak- 
ing through a telephone. I could distinctly hear the 
impact of the pickaxe wielded by the Bosche upon 
the clay and chalk, and the falling of the debris. 
I turned to him with a smile. " Brother Bosche 
will shortly have a fise in lire ? " 
" Yes," said he, " I think we shall ' blow' first. 
It's going to be a race, .though." 
Final orders were gven to the man in charge, 
then we cravled up again into the din of the crashing 
shells. I was more at home in these conditions. 
Down below the silence was too uncanny for me. 
When I reached out dug-out once more a message 
was waiting for me to return fo H.Q., as important 
things were in prospect the following morning. 


The message was urgent. Mines were to be blown 
at an early hour. I therefore decided that the best 
thing to do was to go into the trenches and stay the 
night, and so be prepared for anything that might 
happen. Little did I dream what the next forty- 
eight hours were going to bring. It's a good thing 
sometimes we don't know what the future has in 
store for us. The stoutest heart might fail under 
the conditions created by the abnormal atmosphere 
of a modern battlefield. 
I prepared to depart at 8 p.m., and bidding adieu 
to my friends, I started off in the car. The guns 
were crashing out continuously. Several rimes I 
pulled the car up to shelter under some ruins. Then 
for a few minutes there was a lull, and directing my 
chauffeur to go ahead at top speed we reached our 
destination safely. I had barely entered this scene 
of desolation when Bosche shells came hurtling over- 
head and fell with a deafening explosion a short 
distance away. Here I had my first taste of gas 
from the German weeping shells. The air was 
suddenly saturated with an extraordinarily sweet 
smell. For the first few moments I quite enjoyed it. 
Then my eyes began to water freely, and pain badly. 
Realising at once that I was being " gassed," I bade 
the driver rush through the village, and as far beyond 
as possible. 
His eyes, poor fellow, were in the saine state. 
The car rolled and pitched ifs way through, smash- 
ing into shell-holes, bounding over fallen masonry, 
scraping by within a hair's-breadth of a recently 
smashed lorry. On and on, like a drunken thilg. 
Still the air was thick with the foul gas. My eyes 
were burning; at last it was quite impossible to 
keep them open. But I had fo get through, and so 
with a final effort looked ahead, and fo my great 
relief found we were beyond the village, and the air 
smelt cleaner. I told the driver to pull up, and with 


a final roll the car landed its front wheels into a 
For two hours afterwards I was to all intents and 
purposes blind. My eyes were burning, aching and 
weeping. The pain at last subsided, and collecting 
the apparatus we trudged off along the communica- 
tion trench to the front line. Threading out way 
through seemed much more difficult than previously. 
The sides of the trenches had been blown in by shells 
a few minutes before, and this necessitated climbing 
over innumerable mounds of rubble ; but working 
parties were quickly on the scene clearing a way 
through. At last I reached the dug-out previously 
referred to, and believe me, I was very thankful. 
The officer there seemed rather surprised to sec me. 
" Hullo ! " he said. " What news ? Anything 
doing ? " 
" Yes," I replied. " H.Q. says they are ' bloàng ' 
in the early morning, so I decided to corne along to- 
night and fix up a good position for the camera, 
hot desiring to attract the too earnest attentions of a 
Bosche sniper." 
" Whose mine are they bloxving ? " said he. " I 
suppose I shall hear any moment." Just then a 
message came through on the 'phone. He picked up 
the receiver and listened intently. An earnest 
conversation was taking place. I could gather from 
the remarks that H.Q. was speaking. In a few 
minutes he replaced the receiver, and turning to me, 
said • " D shaft is going to bloxv ; time, 7.15 a.m." 
Soon after I turned in. Rolling myself in a 
blanket, I lay down on a trestle-bed in the corner, 
and in doing so disturbed a couple of rats, almost as 
large as rabbits, which had taken up their temporary 
quarters there. Apparently there were plenty of 
them, for several rimes I fer the brutes drop on my 
blanket from holes and crannies in the chalk. Need- 
less to say, I could hot sleep a wink, tired out as I 


was, and as I lay there, twenty feet underground, 
I could hear the rumble and roar of the shells crash- 
ing their way through out parapets, tearing, killing 
and maiming our brave lads, who throughout all 
these horrors held this section of our line like a wall 
of steel. 
I had been lying there for about half an hour. 
Then I got up and climbed out of the incline into 
the open trench. I worked my way towards the 
fir!ng trench ; bullets froln Bosche machine-guns and 
snlpers were flattening themselves against the 
parapet. Several rimes I had fo squeeze myself 
close fo the muddy sides fo allow stretcher-bearers 
fo pass with their grim burdens; some for the 
corner of the Quarry, some for good old " Blighty." 
I stayed for a while alongside a sentry. 
" Any news ? " I asked. 
" No, sir," said he, " but I feel as if something is 
going to happen." 
" Corne," said I, with a laugh, " this is not the 
time for dreaming." 
" No, sir, I'm not dreaming, but I feel something-- 
something that I can't explain." 
" Well, cheer up," I said. " Good night." 
" Good night, sir ! " 
And as I wended my way along I could hear him 
softly whistling to himself the refrain of an old 
At last I came upon the section opposite which 
our mine was going up in the morning, and cautiously 
looking over the parapet I surveyed the ground in 
front. There were several sandbags that required 
shifting. If they remained it would be necessary to 
place, the camera higher above the top than was sale 
or wlse. Carefully pulling myself up, I lay along 
the top of the parapet and pushed them aside. 
Several star-shells were fired whilst I was so engaged, 
and I date not stix--I scarcely dared breathe--for 


fear the slightest movement would draw a stream 
of bullets in my direction. 
Undoubtedly this »vas the only place from which 
to film the mine successfully. So marking the spot 
I slid down into the trench again, and retraced my 
steps to the dug-out. I round the officer I had 
previously seen enjoying a lovely, steaming tin of 
tea, and it »vasn't many minutes before I was keep- 
ing him company. We sat chatting and smoking 
for a considerable rime. 
" Is everything ready ? " I asked. 
" Yes," he said. " There is over three thousand 
pounds of it there" (mentioning an explosive). 
"Brother Bosche will enjoy it." 
" Let me see your map," I said, " and l'll point 
out the spot where I'm working. It's about eighty 
yards away from Bosche. If »ve work out the exact 
degree by the map of the ' blow,' I can obtain the 
right direction by prismatic compass, and a few 
minutes before ' rime ' lift the camera up and cover 
the spot direct. It'll save exposing myself un- 
necessarily above the parapet to obtain the right 
point of view." The point of view was accordingly 
settled. It was 124 ° from the spot chosen for the 
We had been so busy over out maps that we had 
not noticed how quiet everything had become. 
Hardly a gun sounded; the silence was uncanny. 
Save for the scurrying of the rats and the drip--drip 
--drip of water, the silence was like that of the 
" What's wrong ? " I asked. 
" Bosche is up to no good vhen he drops silent so 
SO » " 
on, he sald. The »vords of the sentry recurred to 
me. " l've a feeling, sir, that I cannot describe." 
I was beginning to feel the saine. 
At length my companion broke the silence. 
" As Bosche seems to be going easy, and out 

artillery bas shut up shop, let's lie down," and with 
that he threw himself on the bed. I sat on the box, 
which served as a table, smoking. 
Half an hour went by. Things were livening up 
a bit. We began to hum a tune or two from the 
latest revue. Suddenly we were brought to out 
feet by a crashing sound that was absolutely in- 
describable in its intensity. I rushed up the incline 
into the trench. What a sight ! The whole of out 
front for the distance of a mile was one frightful 
inferno of tire. The concentration of artillery tire 
was terrific ! Scores of star-shells shot into the air 
at the same moment, lighting the ground up like day, 
showing up the smoking, blazing mass more vividly 
than ever. Hundreds of shells, large and small, 
were bursting over out trenches simultaneously; 
out guns were replying .on the German front with 
redoubled fury; the air was alive with whirling 
masses of metal. The noise was indescribable. 
The explosions seemed to petrify one. 
I made my way as near the front line as possible. 
A number of Scots rushed by me with a load of hand 
grenades. The trenches were packed with men 
rushing up to the fight. I asked an officer who raced 
by, breathlessly, if Bosche was getting through. 
" Yes," he yelled; "they are trying to get 
through in part of my section. They have smashed 
out communication trenches so much that I have 
got fo take my men round on the right flank. It's 
hell there ! " 
It was impossible to get through. The place was 
choked with men, many of them badly wounded ; 
some of them, I'm afraid, destined as tenants of the 
little cemetery near by. 
The awful n.ightmare continued. Men were 
coming and gomg. Reserves were being rushed 
forward; more bombs were being sent up. The 
Bosche artillery quietened down a bit, but only, as 

I found out immediately afterwards, fo allow their 
bombers to attack. I could see the flash of hundreds 
of bombs, each one possibly tearing the life out of 
some of out brave boys. Nothing in the world could 
have withstood such a concentiated artilleiy file as 
the Germans put upon that rive hundred yards of 
ground. It was torn and torn again, riven to shreds. 
It was like the vomiting of a volcano, a mass of earth 
soddened with the blood of the heroes who had tried 
to hold it. 
The Germans came on, bombing their way across 
to what was left of out trench. They dug themselves 
in. Then with a whirl and a crash, out guns spoke 
again. Out boys, who had been waiting like dogs 
on a leash, sprang fo the attack. Briton met Bosche. 
The battle swayed first this way then that. Out men 
drove the Germans out twice during the night, and 
held on to a section commanding the flank of the 
original position. Towards four o'clock the fighting 
ceased. I)aylight was breaking. The wounded were 
still being passed to the rear. 
I stopped and spoke to an officer. " How have 
you got on ? " I asked. 
" We occupy the left flank trench, and command 
the position. But, what a fight ; it was worse than 
Loos." Then suddenly, " What are yo2 doing 
here ? " 
" I ara taking kinema pictures ! " I said. 
The look of amazement on his face was eloquent 
of his thoughts. 
" I)oing what ? " he asked. 
" I am taking kinema pictures," I repeated. 
" Well I'm damned," were his exact words. "I 
never thought you fellows existed, l've always 
thought war pictures were fakes, but--well--now I 
know different," and giving me a hearty shake of 
the hand he went on his way. 
Time was now drawing near for my work to begin. 

Taking the camera to the selected point in the front 
line, which, luckily, was just on the left of the 
fighting area, I took my bearings by the aid of a 
compass. Fixing up a tripod in such close quarters 
was very difficult. I stretched an empty sandbag 
on a piece of vire, cut a hole in it and hung it on the 
front of the camera in such a position that the lens 
projected through the hole. The sandbag stretched 
far enough on either side to shelter my hands, 
especially the right one, which operated the machine. 
I was now ready. I had to risk the attentions of 
the snipers; it was unavoidable. Little by little I 
raised the camera. It was now high enough up, and 
ramming some sand against the tripod legs, I 
Had the Bosche seen it ? 
Three more minutes, then the mine. One minute 
went by; no shots! Another minute went by. A 
bullet flew over my head. Immediately afterwards 
another buried itself in the parapet, then another. 
Surely they would hit it! Heavens how that last 
minute dragged ! To be absolutely sure of getting 
the mine from the very beginning, I decided to start 
exposing a minute before rime. It had to be done ; 
reaching up, I started to expose. Another and 
another bullet flew by. 
Then the thing happened which I had been 
dreading. The Bosche opened a machine-gun on 
At that moment there was a violent convulsion of 
the ground, and with a tremendous explosion the 
mine went up. It seemed as if the whole earth in 
front of us had been lifted bodily hundreds of feet 
in the air. Showers of bombs exploded, shoving 
that it had been well under the German position. 
Then with a mighty roar the earth and debris fell 
back upon itself, forming a crater about 15o feet 
across. Would our men rush the crater and occupy 


it ? On that chance, I kept turning the handle. 
The smoke subsided ; nothing else happened. 
The show was over. No, hot quite; for as I 
hurriedly took down the camera, I evidently put my 
head up a little too high. There was a crack, and a 
shriek near my head, and my service cap was 
whisked off. The whole thing happened like a flash 
of lightning. I dropped into the bottom of the 
trench and picked up my cap. There, through the 
soif part of it, just above tle peak, were two holes 
where a bullet had passed through. One inch nearer 
and it would bave been through my head. 
Can you realise what my thoughts were at that 
precise moment ? 



The First Kinematograph Film Taken of the Western Front--And 
How I Took It Whilst Travelling Through the Air at Eighty 
Miles an Hour--Under Shell-fire--Over Ypres--A Thrilling 
Experience--And a Iqarrow Escape--A Five Thousand Foot 
Dive Through Space. 

" T FEEL confident I can manage if, and that 
the result will be both instructive and unique, 
and provided the weather is clear and I get as 
small a dose of ' Bosche' as possible, there ls no 
reason why if shouldn't be successful." 
" Of course, I ara quite aware of the atmospheric 
difficulties. The fact that it is so thick and misty is 
entirely due fo the heavy body of moisture in the 
ground--but if I start off early in the morning I may 
just escape it." 
This conversation took place in the office of a 
certain Bl itish aerodrome n France between the 
Flight Commander and myself. We had been going 
into the pros and cons of an aerial expedition over 
the German lines. I was anxious to film the whole 
line from an aeroplane. 
" Well," said he, " what about the height ? I 
think I had better call in the Captain," and pressing 
a bell an orderly quickly appeared and was sent off 
to inform the Captain that his presence was required.. 
"I say," said the Flight Commander, " this ls 
Malins, the War Office Kinematographer." He then 
explained my mission and requirements. 
• " Now," he said, after all preliminaries had been 




discussed, "the question is about the height. What 
is a tolerably safe height over ' Bosche' " 
"About 8,000 feet, I should say, though of 
course if we go well over his lines it will be 
necessary to rlse higher. There are too many 
' Archibalds ' about to dodge any lower." 
" Well," I .replied, " l'll start taking my scenes 
when we arrive at the coast-line. We can then 
follow it along and turn off inland towards Ypres. 
I should very much like to film that place from 
above, then follow down the lines, passing over 
St. Eloi, Plcegsteert, Armentières, Neuve Chapelle, 
Richebourg, Festubert, Givenchy, Loos, Hohen- 
zollern Redoubt, and on fo Arras. I ara of course 
entirely in your hands. I do not want to j eopardise 
the trip, nor wish you fo run any unnecessary risks, 
you understand, but I should like to get as low as 
possible, and so obtain more detail. It will be the 
first kinematograph film ever taken of the Western 
" Well," said the Flight Commander, rising, 
"you have full permission. You can bave the use 
of a BE .C machine, with Captain -- Do what 
you like, but take care. Don't be rash. Good luck 
to you. I shall be as anxious as you fo sec the 
In the Captain's company I left the office, and 
together we went round to make arrangements 
regarding the means of fixing my camera. 
The machine was the usual type of passenger- 
carrying aero, numbered BE .C, a very stable and 
reliable machine, but according to the Captain, not 
very fast. Speed in this case vas not an absolute 
necessity, unless a Fokker favoured us vith his 
I went aboard to find the best means ol fixing and 
operating my camera. I decided to use my debrie, 
hot the aeroscope. The latter had jambed a day or 



two previous, and I had not had an opportunity of 
repairing if. The observer's seat was in the front, 
and just above, on the main srus, vas a cross-tube 
of metal. On each end was an upright socket, for 
the purpose of dropping into if a Lewis gun. The 
pilot also had the saine in front of him. 
I suggested that a metal fixing, which would fit 
the socket, and a tiling arrangement, so that it 
vould be possible fo raise or lower the camera fo 
any angle, would suit admirably, and on the other 
side, in case of attack, a Lewis gun could be 
" It's well fo be prepared for emergencies," said 
the Captain. " It's quite possible we shall be 
" Well," I said, " I will have a good shot af him 
if he does turn up. And vho knows--I may be able 
to get a picture of the Hun machine falling. By Jove, 
what a thrill it would provide ! " 
Instructions were given fo the excellent mechanics 
employed in the R.F.C., and vithin an hour or so 
the metal tilting-top vas ruade and fixed on the 
" You vill have fo wrap up well," said the Captain. 
" It's jolly cold up there. If looks rather misty, 
and that will make it all the worse. Now then, 
all aboard." 
Up I scrambled, or raher wriggled, between a 
network of wire stays, and taking my seat the 
camera vas handed fo me. I fastened it on one side 
of the gun-mounfing and fixed a Lewis gun on the 
other, making sure I had spare boxes of film ready, 
and spare drums of ammunition. I then fastened 
the broad web belt round my vaist, and fixed on my 
I was ready for the ascent. 
My companion vas in his seat, and the machine 
was wheeled into position for starting..The mechanics 


were turning the propeller round fo suck the gas 
into the many cylinders, fo facilitate easier starting. 
" All ready," shouted the Captain. " Right away, 
contact, let ber go." And with a jerk the motor 
The whirl of the huge blades developed into a 
deafening roar. The machine vibrated horribly. I 
clung fo my camera, holding if tight to the socket. 
I knew that once in the air the shake would be 
reduced to a minimum. Faster and faster whirled 
the propeller as the Captain opened the throttle. 
t!ow sweet and perfect xvas the hum of the giant 
motor. Not the slightest sound of a misfire. Being 
an ardent motorist, I could tell that the engine was 
in perfect tune. The Captain leaned over and 
shouted to me through the roar to fasten the tele- 
phone receiver against my ear under my leather cap. 
" That," said he, pointing to a mouthpiece 
attached fo a small rubber tube, " is the transmitter. 
If you want fo give me any instructions shout into 
that. I shall hear you. Ail fit ? " he asked. 
I nodded my head. He took his seat, and opened 
the throttle. The engine leapt into new life. The 
ioar was deafening. The whirring blades flung the 
air back into my face, cutting if as if with a whip. 
He dropped his arm. The men drew away the 
chocks from the wheels, and amid shouts of " Good 
luck!" from the officers present, the machine 
sprang forward like a greyhound, bounding over the 
irass, until af last it rose like a gigantic bird into the 
The earth gradually drew away. Higher and 
higher we rose, and began fo circle round and round 
fo gain height. 
" We will get up to three thousand feet before we 
strike towards the coast," he shouted ihrough the 
The vibration, now we were in the air, was barely 


perceptible, at any raie if was not sufficient fo affect 
the taking of my scenes. In case any moisture 
collected on my lens, I had brought a soif silk pad, 
fo wipe if with occasionally. Higher, still higher, 
we rose. 
" What's the height now ? " I asked. 
" Very nearly three thousand feet," he said. 
" We are now going towards the coast. That's 
Dunkirk over there." 
I peered ahead. The port, with its shipping, was 
clearly discernible. Over the sea hung a dense mist, 
looking for all the world like a snowfield. Here and 
there, in clear patches, the sun gleamed upon the 
water, throwing back ifs dazzling reflections. 
As soon as we reached the coast-line, I shouted : 
" Proceed well along this side, so that I can obtain 
an oblique view. If looks much better than directly 
above the object. What's out speed ? " 
" Sixty toiles," he said. " I shall keep if up until 
we reach the German lines." 
He turned sharp fo the right. We are now follow- 
ing the coast-line towards Ostend. How beautiful 
the sand dunes looked from above. The heavy 
billows of sea-mist gave if a somewhat mystic 
appearance. How cold if was. I huddled down 
close into my seat, my head only above the fuselage. 
Keeping my eye upon the wonderful panorama un- 
folding ffself oui beneath me, I glanced at my 
camera and tested the socket. Yes, if was quite 
" We are nearing the lines now," my companion 
shouted. " Can you see them on your right ? That's 
the Belgium area. Out section, as you know, begins 
just before Ypres. Will this height suit you ? 
Shall I follow the trenches directly overhead or a 
little fo one side ? " 
" Keep this side, Fil begin taking now." Kneeling 
up in my seat, I directed my camera downwards 


and started filming our lines and the German position 
stretching away in the distance. 
We were nearing Ypres, that shell-battered city of 
Flanders. White balls of smoke here and there were 
bursting among the ruins, showing that the Huns 
were still shelling if. What a frightful state the 
earth was in. For toiles and toiles around if had the 
appearance of a sieve, with hundreds of thousands 
of shell-holes, and like a beautiful green ribbon, 
winding away as far as the eye could see, was that 
wonderful yet terrible strip of ground between the 
lines, known as " No Man's Land." 
We were now running into a bank of white fleecy 
clouds, which enveloped us in its folds, blotting the 
whole earth from vlew. I held my handkerchief 
over the lens of the camera fo keep the moisture 
froml settling upon it. After a tilne several breaks 
appeared in the clouds beneath, and the earth looked 
wonderful. It seemed miles--mlany mliles--away. 
Rivers looked like silver streaks, and houses mere 
specks upon the landscape. Here and there a puff 
of white smoke told of a bursting shell. But for that 
occasional, somlewhat unpleasant reminder, I might 
bave been thousands of toiles away froill the greatest 
war in history. 
Who could imagine anything more wonderful, 
more fantastic ? I had dreamed of such things, I had 
read of theill; I even remembered having read, 
years ago, some of the wonderful stories in Grimm's 
Fairy Tales. To my childish mlind, they seemed 
ve13z wonderful indeed. There were fairies, goblins, 
mlysterious figures, castles which floated in the air, 
wonderful lands which shifted in a night, at the 
touch of a magic wand or the sound of a magic word. 
Things which fired my youthful imagination and set 
me longing to share in their adventures. But never 
in my wildest dreams did I think I should live fo do 
the saille thing, fo go where I listed ; to fly like a 


bird, high above the clouds. If was like an adven- 
ture in fairyland fo take this weird and wonderful 
creation of men, called an aeroplane, through the 
home of the skylark. 
Boom! Boom! I was suddenly brought back 
fo--no, not fo earth, but to--things more matefial. 
Looking down, I could discern several balls of 
smoke, which I immediately recognised as shrapnel 
shells, or " Archibalds," that had been fired at us 
by the Germans. They were well below. I looked 
round at the Captain. He was smiling through his 
goggles, and humorously jerked his thumb in the 
direction of the bursting " Archies." 
" Too high, eh ? " I shouted. But I had forgotten 
that in the fearful hum of the rushing air and whirl- 
ing motors my voice would not carry. If was 
literally cut off as if left my lips. I picked up the 
'phone and shouted through it. 
" Yes, they are pretty safe where they are," he 
said drily. Then a few more burst underneath us. 
By this rime we were well out of the cloud bank. 
The atmosphere was much clearer. I knelt up again 
on my seat and began to expose, and continued 
turning the handle while we passed over St. Eloi and 
Hill 60. On certain sections I could see that a con- 
siderable " strafe " was going on. Fritz seemed fo 
be having a very trying rime. Near Messines my 
film suddenly tan out. I had fo reload. This was 
anything but an easy operation. I unscrewed my 
camera from the gun socket, and in doing so had a 
near escape Irom doing a head-dive fo earth. Like 
an idiot, I had unfastened my waist-strap, and in 
reaching over the fuselage my camera nearly over- 
balanced, the aeroplane contributing fo this result 
by making a sudden dive in order fo avoid an 
" Archibald." 
For a second or two I had clear visions of flying 
through space on wings other than those of an aero- 

plane. But fortunately I had the steel crossbar fo 
cling to, and this saved me. 
Getting back fo my seat, I asked the pilot fo 
circle iound the spot for a few minutes. While 
changing my spool, I settled down in the bottom of 
the car and reloaded my camera, eight thousand feet 
above the earth. This operation occupied about 
ten minutes, and when I had finished I gingerly 
raised myself on the seat and refixed the camera in 
its socket. 
" Right away," I shouted. " Is if possible fo go 
any lower ? " 
" It's very risky," he said, " but if you like I will 
try. Hold fight, it's a dire." 
I held tigh. The nose of the machine filted 
forward unfil if seemed as if it was absolutely stand- 
ing on end. The earth rushed up fo meet us. For 
the moment ff seemed as if the aeroplane was out of 
control, but with a graceful glide, which brought us 
level, we continued our journey af a height of three 
thousand feet. 
" Get what you want quickly," he shouted. " We 

can't stay here long." 
I began fo expose again. 
line after line of trenches. 
over the 13osche lines. I 
First came Plcegsteert, 

13y now we were over 
At rimes ve were well 
continued fo film the 

Fromelles, and Aubers 

Ridge. Then we crossed to Neuve Chapelle, 
Festubert, La 13assée and Loos. Town after town, 
village after village, were passed over, all of them in 
ruins. From above the trenches, like a splash oi 
white chalk dropped into the middle of a patch of 
brown earth. The long winding trenches cut out of 
the chalk twisted and wound along valley and dale 
like a serpent. Looking down upon it all, if seemed 
so very insignificant. Man ? What was he ? His 
works looked so small that it seemed one could, 


wffh a sweep of the foot, crush him out of existence. 
How small he was, yet how great ; how powerful, 
yet how weak ! We were now over La Bassée. 
" We shall have fo rise," shouted my companion. 
" Look up there." I looked up, and thousands of 
feet above us was a small speck. 
" Bosche plane," said he. " Hold tight ! " And 
I did. 



Chasing an " Enemy " Aeroplane at a Height of I3,5oo Feet---And 
What Came of It--A Dramatic Adventure in which the Pilot 
Played a Big Part--I Get a Nasty Shock--t3ut ara 1Reassured-- 
A Freezing Experience--Filming thc Earth as we Dived Almost 
Perpendicularly--A Picture that would Defy the lVlost Ardent 
Futurist to Paint. 

" T S that gun ready ? '" asked my companion, 
twisting round in his seat. I nodded. "Right-o ! 
I'm going to get up higher. We are absolutely 
lost down here." 
I fixed on a drum of cartridges, and with a butt 
in my hand was ready for any emergency. Higher 
and higher we rose. The mist was becoming more 
and more dense. Photographing was impossible. 
The cold seemed to chill one's bones. I could tell 
by the increasing vibration we were going " all out," 
in order fo get above the enemy machine, which 
seemed fo be drawing closer and closer. I looked at 
the pilot. He had his eyes fixed upon the Bosche. 
" What are we now ? " 
" Eight thousand," he said. " Tha chap must be 
af least thirteen thousand up. Do you notice whether 
he is coming nearer ? " 
I told him it seemed fo me as if he was doing so. 
Up and up we wen. Colder and colder if grew. 
My face was frozen. To breathe, I had fo turn my 
head sideways fo avoid the direct rush of air from 
the whirling propeller. I could just discern the 
ground through the mist. I looked around for the 
Bosche. He seemed further away. I shoued fo the 
pilot. He looked round. 

" I'm going fo chase it," he said. And away he 
went. But the faster we moved the faster went the 
other machine. At last we discovered the reason. 
In fact, I believe we both discovered it af precisely 
the saine moment. The plane was one of our own ! 
I looked at the Captain. He smiled af me, and I'm 
positive he felt disappointed af the discovery. 
" What's the height ? " I enquired. 
" About thirteen thousand feet," he said. " Shall 
we go higher ? We may ge± above the mist." 
" Try a little more," I replied. " But I don't 
think if will be possible to film any more scenes 
to-day ; the fog is much too heavy." 
The whole machine was wet with moisture. It 
seemed as if we should never fise above it. I had 
never before known if so thick. My companion 
asked if we should return. With reluctance I agreed, 
then, turning round face to the sun, we rushed 
The mist did hot seem to change. Mile after toile 
we encountered the saine impenetrable blanket of 
clammy moisture. I was huddling as tight as possible 
to the bottom of the seat, taldng advantage of the 
least bit of cover from the biting, rushing swirl of 
icy-cold air. Mile after toile; it seemed hours up 
there in the solitude. I watched the regular dancing 
up and down of the valves on top of the engine. I 
was thinking of a tune that would fit to the regular 
beat of the tappets. 
I shouted through the 'phone. 
No answer. 
He must be too cold to speak, I thought. For 
myself, I did not know whether I had jaws or hot. 
The lashing, biting wind did not affect my face now. 
I could feel nothing. Once I tried to pinch my 
check; it was liteless. It might have been clay. 
My jaw was practically set stiff. I could only just 


I tried again to attract my companion's attention. 
Still no answer. 
I was wondering whether anything had happened 
to him, when something did happen which very 
nearly petrified me. I felt a clutch on my shoulder. 
Quickly turning my head, I was horrified fo see him 
standing on his seat and leaning over my shoulder. 
" Get off the telephone tube, you idiot. You are 
sitting on it," he shouted. " Ne can't speak to one 
" Telephone be damned!" I managed to shout. 
" Get back to your seat. Don't play monkey-tricks 
up here." 
If you can imagine yoursêlf fourteen thousand 
feet above the earth, sitting in an aeroplane, and 
the pilot letting go all his controls, as he stands on 
his feet shouting in your ear, you will be able to 
realise, but only to a very slight extent, what my 
feelings were at this precise moment. 
He returned to his seat. He was smiling. I 
fumbled about underneath and found the tube. 
Putting it to my mou th, I asked him what he meant 
by if. 
" That's all right, my dear chap," he said, "there's 
no need to get alarmed. The old bus will go along 
merrily on ifs own." 
" l'll believe all you say. In fact l'll believe 
anything you like fo tell me, but I'd much rather 
you sit in your seat and control the machine," 
I replied. 
He chuckled, apparently enjoying the joke to the 
full, but during the remainder of the journey I ruade 
sure I was not sitting on the speaking tube. 
The mist was gradually clearing now. The sun 
shone gloriously, the clouds, a long way beneath us, 
looked more substantial ; through the gaps in their 
fleecy whiteness the earth appeared. It seemed a 
long rime since I had seen it. Ne were again coming 


fo the edge of a cloud bank. The atmosphere beyond 
was exceedingly clear. 
" We are nearly home," said my companion. 
" Are you going to take any more scenes ? " 
" Yes," I said, " I suppose you'll spiral down? " 
" Right-ho ! " 
" l'll take a film showing the earth revolving. 
It'll look very quaint on the screen." 
" Here goes then. We are going to dive down to 
about six thousand feet, so hold on tight fo your 
The engines almost stopped. Suddenly we seemed 
to be falling earthwards. Down--down--do«n! 
We were diving as nearly perpendicular as it is 
possible to be. Sharp pains shot through my head. 
If was getting worse. The pain was horrible. The 
right side of my face and head seemed as if a hundred 
pin-points were being driven into if. I clutched my 
face in agony; then I realised the cause. Coming 
down from such a height, at so terrific a speed, 
the different pressure of the atmosphere affected 
the blood pressure on the head. 
Suddenly the downward rush was stopped. The 
plane was brought to an even keel. 
" I'm going to spiral now," said the pilot. 
" Ready ? " 
" Right away," I said, and knelt again in my seat. 
The plane suddenly seemed to swerve. Then it 
slanted at a most terrifying angle, and began to 
descend rapidly towards the earth in a spiral form. 
I filmed the scene on the journey. To say the earth 
looked extraordinary would be putting it very 
mildly. The ground below seemed to rush up and 
mix with the clouds. First the earth seemed tobe 
over one's head, then the clouds. I am sure the most 
ardent futurist artist would find it utterly impossible 
to do justice to such a scene. Round and round we 
went. Now one side, now the other. How I held to 


my camera-handle goodness only knows. Half the 
rime, I am sure, I turned it mechanically. 
Suddenly we came fo an even keel. The earth 
seemed within jumping distance. The nose dipped 
again, the propeller whirled. Within a few seconds 
we were bounding along on the grassy space of the 
aerodrome, and finally coming fo rest we were sur- 
rounded by the mechanics, who quickly brought the 
machine fo a standstill. 
" By the way," I said fo the pilot, as we went off 
fo tea, " how long were we up there altogether ? '" 
" Two hours," .he replied. 
Two hours ! Great Scott ! It seemed days ! 



The Threshold of Tremendous Happenings--General 's Speech 
to His Men on the Eve of 15attle--Choosing My Position for 
Filming the" Big Push "--Under Shell-fire--A Race of Shrieking 
Devils--Fritz's Way of " Maldng Love "--I Visit the " White 
City "--And On the Way bave Another Experience of Gas 
HE rime for which England has been pre- 
paring during these past two awful years 
is here. We arc now on the threshold of 
tremendous happenings. The Great Offensive is 
about fo begin. What will be the result ? 
We see the wonderful organisation of our vast 
armies, and we know the firm and resolute methods 
of our General Staff--as I have seen and known 
them during the war--would leave nothing fo be 
desired. As a machine, if is the most wonderful 
that was ever created. 
My position as Official Kinematographer has 
afforded me unique opportunities to gain knowledge 
of the whole system required to wage the most 
terrible war that has ever been known to mankind. 
I have not let these opportunities slip by. 
The great day was coming ; there was a mysterious 
something which affected every one af G.H.Q. 
There was no definite news fo hand ; nobody, with 
the exception of those directly concerned, knew 
when and where the blow was fo be struck. Some 
thought on the northern part of our line, others the 
centre; others, again, the south. In the home, in 
the streets, in the cafés and gardens, the one topic 
of conversation was--the coming Great Offensive. 


I was told by a colonel that my chance fo make 
history was coming. That was all. But those few 
words conveyed an enormous lot to me. Later in 
the day I was told by a captain to proceed fo the 
Iront line, fo choose a suitable position wherein fo 
fix up my camera. Our section facing Gouerment 
was suggested fo me as the place where there was 
likely tobe the most excitement, and I immediately 
set out for that section. During the journey I was 
held up by a large body of our men, who turned out 
afterwards fo be the London Scottish. They were 
formed up in a square, and in the centre was 
a general, with his staff officers, addressing the men. 
His words thrilled the hears of every one who heard 
them : 

" Gentlemen of the London Scottish: Within the next few 
days you will take part in the greatest battle in the history of the 
world. To you has been entrusted the taking and holding of 
Gouerment .... England is looking to you to free the world 
from slavery and militarism that is epitomized in the German 
nation and German Kultur .... Gentlemen, I know you will 
not rail, and trom the bottom of my heart I wish you the best 
of luck." 

I waited until the address was finished, and then 
proceeded fo a certain place, striking out on the left 
and trudging through innumerable communication 
trenches, af times up to my knees in mud and vater. 
Eventually I reached an eminence facing the village 
of Gouerment. If was in a valley. The German 
trenches ran parallel with my position, and on the 
right I could discern the long green ribbon of 
grass termed " No Man's Land," stretching as 
far as the eye could see. The whole Iront of the 
German lines was being shelled by our heavy 
guns ; the place was a spitting mass of smoke and 
flame. Salvo airer salvo was being poured from our 
" What an inspiring sight,'" I said to an officer 


standing by my side, " and these shells were Inade 
by the woinen of England." 
"Well," he said, "you see Gommecourt ; that's 
all coining down in a day or two. Every gun, large 
and sinall, will concentrate its tire on if, and level it 
to the ground. That's your picture." 
" In that case," I replied, "I shall want fo be 
Inuch nearer our front line. I Inust get within rive 
hundred yards of it. What a sight ! What a filin 
if will be ! " 
I stood watching the boinbardinent for soine rime, 
then fixing Iny cainera position, I returned. Divi- 
sional H.Q. told Ine I should be informed in ainple 
tiine when the attack was fo be Inade. 
That afternoon I returned fo G.H.Q., but the 
best laid scheines of Inice and Inen aft gang agley. 
I was told that night to prepare iininediately to 
proceed fo the H.Q. of a certain Division, with 
instructions to attach Inyself fo thein for the next 
week; all particulars would be given to Ine in the 
I received Iny instructions next Inorning. I was 
to proceed to the Division, report Inyself, and I 
should receive all the inforination and assistance I 
required. With parting wishes for the best of 
luck, and "don't coine back wounded," I left 
H.Q., and proceeded by car fo the Colnpany H.Q., 
where I was received with every courtesy by 
He told Ine the best thing to do was fo go fo 
Divisional H.Q. and see the General. He had been 
informed of Iny arrival, and the final details could be 
arranged with hiin, such as the best points of vantage 
for fixing up Iny cainera. Accordingly I hurried off 
fo Divisional H.Q. and Inet the General. On being 
ushered into his rooin, I found hiin sitting at a table 
with a large scale Inap of a cer±ain section of our line 
before him. He looked the very incarnation of in- 

domitable will, this General of the incomparable 
. Division. 
I quickly explained my mission, and told him I 
should like fo go fo the front trenches fo choose my 
" Certainly," he said, "that is a very wise plan, 
but if y.ou will look here I will show you the spot 
which, in my opinion, will make an idem place. 
This is the German position. This, of course, is 
Beaumont Hamel, which is out objective. This is 
as far as we are going ; it will be a pivot from which 
the whole front south of us will radiate. We are 
going fo give the village an intense bombardment 
this aflernoon, at 4 o'clock; perhaps you would 
like to obtain that ? " 
'" Yes, sir," I replied, " itis most necessary fo my 
story. What guns are you using ? " 
" Everything, flore trench mortars fo I5-inch 
howitzers. We are going fo literally raze if to the 
ground. Itis one of the strongest German redoubts, 
and it's not going fo be an easy job fo occupy it; 
but we achieved the impossible af Gallipoli, and 
with God's help we will win here. There is a spot 
here in out firing trench caIled ' Jacob's Ladder,"" 
and pointing fo the map, he showed it me. 
" That certainly looks a most excellent point, 

sir," I said. " What 
lines ? "' 
"About 15o yards. 
from what I am told ; 
fo take your chance, 

is the distance from Bosche 

They ' strafe' if considerably, 
but, of course, you will have 
the same as all my other 

"That is unavoidable, sir. The nature of my 
work does not permit me fo be in very comfortable 
places, if I am fo get the best results." 
" Right," he said, " if you will report fo Brigade 
H.Q. the Brigade Major will give you what orderlies 
you require, and you had better draw rations with 


them while you are there. He has instructions to 
give you every assistance." 
" Oh, by the way, sir, what rime does the mine go 
up ? " 
" Ten minutes to zero," he replied. " You quite 
understand, don't you ? Major  will give you 
zero rime to-morrow night." 
After lunching with the General I started off for 
Brigade H.Q. The weather was vile. It had been 
raining practically without break for several days, 
and was doing ifs best fo upset everything and give 
us as much trouble as possible. 
What an enormous number of munition waggons 
and lorries I passed on the road ; toiles and miles of 
them, all making for the front line. " Ye gods! " 
I thought, " Bosche is certainly going fo get it." 
I reached my destination about 2.3 o. What a 
"strafe" there was going on ! The concussion of what 
I afterwards round out was our Is-inch howitzers was 
terrible. The very road seemed fo shake, and when 
I opened the door of the temporary Brigade H.Q., 
one gun which went off close by shook the building 
to such an extent that I really thought for the 
moment a shell had struck the house. 
" Captain , I presume ? " said I, addressing 
an officer seated ata long table making out reports 
and giving them over to waiting dispatch riders. 
The room was a hive of industry. 
" Gad, sir," he said, " are you the kinema man ? 
I ara pleased to see you. Take a seat, and tell me 
what you want. You are the last person I expected 
fo see out here. But, seriously, are you really going 
to film ' The Day'  " 
" Yes," I replied. 
" Where do you propose to take it ? " 
" General  suggested ' Jacob's Ladder.' " 
" What ? " came a startled chorus from about 
hall a dozen other officers. " Take photos from 


' Jacob's Ladder,' "hey repeated in ones of anaaze- 
ment. " Good Lord! it's an absolute death-trap. 
Bosche strafes it every day, and it's always covered 
by snipers." 
" Well," I said, " it certainly seems by the map 
tobe an ideal place to get the mine going up and 
he advance over ' No Man's Land.' " 
" Granted, but--well !--it's your shoot. Will 
you let us introduce the doctor? You'll need 
" Gentlemen," I said, with mock gravity, " I 
assure you it would be most difficult for me to 
receive a more cordial welcome." This remark 
caused some laughter. Turning to the Captain, 
I said : " Will you give me an orderly ? One who 
knows the trenches, as I wish to go there this after- 
noon to film the ' strafe ' at 4 o'clock. I shall stay 
down there for the next few days, tobe on the spot 
for ' The Day,' and ready for anything that follows." 
" Certainly," he said. " Ha e you got a trench 
map ? What about blankets and grub ? " 
"I have my blanket and some provisions, but if 
I can draw some bully and biscuits, I shall manage 
quite well." 
Having secured supplies and fiLled my knapsack, 
I strapped it on my shoulder, fixed the camera-case 
on my back and, handing the tripod to another man, 
started off. I had hardly got more than two hundred 
yards when the Captain tan up to me and said that 
he had ]ust had a 'phone message from D.H.Q., say- 
ing that the General was going to address the men 
on the following day, before proceeding to battle. 
Would I like to film the scene ? It would take place 
about IO a.m. Naturally, I was delighted at the 
prospect of such a picture, and agreed fo be on the 
field at the rime mentioned.  Then with a final adieu 
we parted. 
The weather was sfill vile. A nasty, drizzly mist 


hung over everything. The appearance of the 
whole country was much like it is on a bad November 
day af home. Everythin gE was clammy and cold. 
The roads were covered to a deph of several inches 
with slimy, clayey mud. Loads of munitions were 
passing up fo the Front. On all sides were guns, 
large and small. The place bristled with them, and 
they were so cunningly hidden that one might pass 
within six feet of them wffhout being aware of their 
existence. But you could not get away from the 
sounds. The horrible dinning continued, from the 
sharp rat-tat-tat-tat of the French 75mm., of which 
we had several batteries in close proximity, and 
from the bark of the i8-pounders to the crunching 
roar of the I5-inch howitzer. The air was literally 
humming with shells. It seemed like a race of 
shrieking devils, each tryinŒE to catch up with the 
one in front befoie it reached its objective. 
Salvo after salvo ; crash after crash ; and in the 
rare moments of stillness, in this neive-shatteling 
pielude to the Gieat iush, I could heai the sweet 
warblings of a lark, as if rose higher and higher 
in the murky, misty sky. 
Af one place I had fo pass through a narrow lane, 
and on either side were hidden batteries, sending 
round upon round into the German trenches, always 
under keen observation from enemy-spottin gE balloons 
and aeroplanes. The recent shell-holes in the road- 
way ruade me pause before proceedin gE further. I 
noticed a sergeant of the Lancashiie Fusilieis af the 
entrance to a thickly sand-bagged shelter, and asked 
him if theie was anothei way to the section of the 
front line I sought. 
" No, sir," he said, "that is the only way ; but it's 
mighty unhealthy just now. The Hun is crumplin gE 
it with his 5"9-inch H.E., and makinŒE a tidy mess of 
the road. But he don't hit out guns, sir. He j ust 
improves theii appearance by making a nice little 


frill of earth around them, he does, and--look out, 
sir ; corne in here. 
"' Here she cornes ! " 
With a murderous shriek and horrible splitting 
roar a German shell burst on the roadway about 
fifty yards away. 
" That is Fritz's way of making love, sir," he said, 
with a chuckle; which remark admirably reflects 
the marvellous morale of out men. 
" Have they been shelling the avenues much ? " 
I asked, referring to the various communication 
trenches leading to the front line. 
" Yes, sir. Nos. I, 2 and 3 are being severely 
crumped. I would suggest No. 5, sir; it's as clear 
as any of them. I should advise you fo get along 
this lane as fast as possible. I have been here some 
rime, so I know Fritz's little ways." 
He saluted, and like a mole disappeared into his 
dug-out as I moved away. 
I told my man to keep about ten yards behind me, 
so that in the event of a shell bursting near by one 
or the other of us would have a chance of clearing. 
" Now," I said, " let it go ata double. Corne on," 
and with head well forward I raced up the road. 
Altogether, with my camera, I was carrying about 
seventy pounds in weight, so you can guess it was 
no easy marrer. There was about another 15o yards 
fo go, when I heard the ominous shriek of a German 
" Down in the ditch," I yelled. " Lie fiat," and 
.suiting the action to the word, I flung myself down 
in the mud and water near a fallen tree. Crash 
came the shell, and it exploded with a deafening roar 
more on the side of the road than the previous one, 
and near enough to shower mud and water all over 
me as I lay there. 
" Now then," I yelled to my man, " double-up 
before they range the next one," and jumping up 

we raced avay. Not before I had got well clear, 
and near the old railvay station, did I stay and rest. 
While there several shells crashed in and around the 
road we had just left. I was glad I was safely 
With the exception of the usual heavy shelling, 
getting dovn fo the front trench vas quite un- 
eventful. My objective was a place called " The 
White City," so called because itis cut out of the 
chalk-bank of our position facing Beaumont Hamel. 
Getting there through the communication trenches 
was as difficult as in the vinter. In places the mud 
and vater reached my knees, and when you had 
corne fo the end of your journey you were as much 
like dirty plaster-cast as anything possibly could be. 
After three-quarters of an hour's trudging and 
splashing I reached " The White City," and turned 
down a trench called " Tenderloin Street." About 
one hundred yards on my right, at the junction of 
"King Street" and "St. Helena Street," my guide 
pointed me out the Brigade dug-out. Depositing 
my camera and outfit close to some sandbags I went 
inside and introduced myself. Four officers were 
" By Jove! " said one, "you are welcome. 
Have a drink. Here's a cigarette." 
" Here you are," said another, " have a match. 
Now tell us all the news from home. My vord, we 
haven't heard a blessed thing for days. Have you 
really come to photograph ' The Day '  " 
" Yes," I replied. " But I have corne this after- 
noon fo look round, and fo film the 'strafe' at 
Beaumont Hamel. You know the trenches round 
here" where can I see the village fo the best 
advantage ? " 
" Well," said one, " there are several places, but 
Bosche is ' hating ' us rather this afternoon, and the 
firing trench is anything but healthy. He's been 


properly dosing us with 'whizz-bangs,' but you 
know he will have his bit of fun. You see, when 
Friz sarts we let off a Iew ' flying pigs ' in return, 
which undoubtedly disturbs his peace of mind." 
" By my map, a spot called ' Lanwick Sreet' 
seems likely," I said. " It's bang opposite the 
village, and they are puIIing the 5-inch on the 
eastern corner. If you will be good enough fo guide 
me, I will have a look now; it will take me some 
rime to fix up my camera in reasonable saIety." 
" You won't find much safety there," he replied. 
" We bave practically to rebuild the parapet every 
lfight, but only for a Iew more days, thank Heaven ! 
Anyway, corne along." 
We proceeded by way of "King Street" to 
" Lanwick Street," and several times we had to fall 
fiat in the trench bottom to escape being hit by 
shells. They seemed at rimes to burst almost 
overhead. The " whizz-bangs " which Fritz purs 
over are raher little beggars; you have no rime 
fo dodge them. They corne with a " phut " and 
a bang that for sheer speed knocks spots off a 
flash of lightning. One only thinks to duck when 
he beastly thing has gone off. 
" Lanwick Street " was the usual sort of trench. 
Atone end was an arIillery observation officer, 
correcting the range of his guns. 
" Go easy, won't you ? " he said fo me. " ]3osche 
has an idea we use this corner for something rather 
important. If he sees your camera we shall certainly 
receive his attention. For Heaven's sake, keep your 
head down." 
" RighI-o ! " I said. " Lend me your periscope ; 
I will bave a look at the ground first through that." 
I looked on the village, or rather the late site of it. 
If was absolutely flattened out, with the exception 
of a Iew remaining stumps of trees, which used tobe 
a beautiful wood, near which the village nestled. 

" That's been done by our guns in rive days; 
some mess, eh ? " 
" My word, yes. Now about this afternoon's 
bombardment ; they are working on the left-hand 
I chose a spot for working and fixing up my tripod, 
and waited until 4.30 p.m. 
In the meantime, with the aid of a stick, I gradually 
pushed away several sandbags which interfered with 
my view on the parapet. To do this it was necessary 
to raise myself head and shoulders above the top 
and, with one arm pushed forward, I worked the 
bags clear. I felt much better when that job was 
" You're lucky," said the A.O. " I had one of my 
periscopes hit clean by a bullet this morning. Fritz 
must be having a nap, or he would have had you 
for a cert." 
" Anyway," I replied, " it gives me a compara- 
tively clear view now." 
Time was drawing near. I prepared my camera 
by clothing it in an old piece of sacking, and gently 
raising it on fo the tripod I screwed it tight. Then 
gradually raising my head to the view-finder, I 
covered the section which was going to be " strafed," 
and wrapping my hand in a khaki handkerchief, 
Our guns were simply pouring shells on the Bosche. 
The first of the Is-inch came over and exploded 
with a deafening roar. The sight was stupefying. 
I began to expose my film, swinging the camera 
first on one side then the other. Shell after shell 
came roaring over; one dropped on the remaining 
walls of a château, and when the smoke had cleared 
there was absolutely nothing left. How in the world 
anything could live in such a maelstrom of explosive 
it is difficult fo conceive. 
I continued to expose my film af intervals until 

about 6 o'clock, and twice I had to snatch my 
camera down hastily and take shelter, for the 
"whizz-bangs" came smashing too close for 
I was just taking down my camera when several 
shells exploded in the trenches about fiffeen yards 
behind us. Then a man came running into our 
traverse : " Shure, sot," he said, " and it's gas- 
shells the dirty swine are sending over. My eyes 
seem tobe burning out." His eyes were undoubtedly 
bad. Tears were pouring down his cheeks, and he 
was trying to ease the pain by binding his handker- 
chier over them. Then I smelt the gas, and having 
had a previous dose ai Vel-nilles, and not wishing 
for further acquaintance wih i, I bade my man 
rush as quickly as possible back to " The White 
I got back to H.Q. dug-out just in time for tea. 
I told the officers present of my success in filming 
the " strafe," and I learned hat it was the first time 
Fritz had put tear-shells over them. "' We must 
certainly prepare our goggles," they said. 
" Have you seen ' Jacob's Ladder' ? " enquired 
one of the officers. 
" No," I replied, " I shall wait until dusk. Il will 
then be safer to move about." 
We sat smoking and talking about the prospects 
of the " Big Push," and af last we all lapsed into 
silence, which was broken by the arrival of a 
lieutenant. The Captain looked up from his bench. 
" Hullo, what's up ? Any news ? " 
" Oh, no ; nothing much, sir," said he, " but H.Q. 
wishes me fo go out for a raid o-night. They want 
a Bosche 4o talk to; there are a few things they 
want to know. We haven't brought one in for 
several nighs now. They asked me to go oui again ; 
I said, if here was one 4o be had my Company 
would bring him along." 

XVAR ()F Ff (_'E 


" Right-o!" said the Captain. " Who are you 
taking ? " 
"  for one, and a few Inen--the saine lot that 
have been across with me before. H.Q. specially 
want fo know the actual results of the heavy ' strafe.' 
They are going to cease tire to-night, between twelve 
and one. I »vant to find out where their machine 
guns are fixed up--" And so the conversation 
went on. 
At that moment another oflïcer carne in, and I got 
hiln fo show me round " Jacob's Ladder." We went 
through "King Street "again, and follo»ved the trcnch 
until we arrived at the place. Tbe formation of this 
point »vas extraordinary. 
A stranger colning upon it for the first rime would 
undoubtedly get a slight shock for, upon turning 
into a traverse, you corne abruptly upon an open 
space, as if the trench had been sliced off, leaving 
an opening froln »vhich you could look down upon 
our front line trenches, not only upon thern but »vell 
in front of thern. 
I »vas on the bank of a srnall valley ; leading down 
froln this position »vere about t»venty-five steps, 
hence the naine " Jacob's Ladder." Our parapet 
still follo»ved do»vn, like the handrail of a staircase, 
only of course Inuch higher. 
The position froln a photographic point of view 
»vas admirable, and I doubt »vhether on any other 
part of our front such a suitable point could be 
found. " Jove! " I said, " this is the ideal place. 
I »vill definitely decide upon it." 
" If you look carefully over here you will see the 
Bosche line quite plainly. They are about seventy 
yards a»vay, and af that point »ve are going fo put 
a barrage of tire on their second line with our Stokes 
guns. We are going to do that frorn ' Sunken Road,' 
rnid»vay in' No Man's Land.' Can you see it there ? " 
" Yes," I replied ; " splendid. As soon as I have 

got the mine exploding, and out men going over 
the parapet and across 'No Man's Land,' I can 
immediately--if all's well--swing my camera on 
to the barrage and film that. This is a wonderful 
" It tests entirely wffh Fritz now. If he does not 
crump this place you will be all right, but they are 
sure 4o plaster our front trench as soon as they see 
us go over." 
" Well, I must risk that," I said. 
And we turned and retraced our steps to the 
" White City," where I bade my companion good 
night, and returned to film the scene of the General's 
speech to his men the following morning. 



The General's Speech to the Fusiliers 13efore-Going Into Action-- 
Filming the i5-inch Howitzers--A Miniature Earthquake-- 
" The Day " is Postponed--Keeping Within " The Limits "--A 
Surprise bIeeting in the Trenches--A Reminder of Other Days-- 
I Get Into a Tight Corner--And Have An Unpleasantly Hot 
Experience--I Interview a Trench Mortar--Have a Lvely 
Quarter of an HourwAnd Then Get Oit. 

AIN, rain, rain. It was like a dull, dismal 
December night. Owing to the tramping 
of hundreds of feet up and down the 
trenches, they became like a quagmire. We slipped 
and slid, clutching fo the sticky, clay walls, and 
floundering up fo our knees in holes, and, to make 
matters worse, Bosche, who knew that this was the 
rime we brought up fresh munitions, crumped the 
Fifth Avenue as hard as he could. One or two shells 
crashed into the trench on the way up, and I had to 
pass over two working parties (by the aid of a 
candle-light, screened) searching for, and placing 
the remains of their comrades in sacks. 
Good God! ifs a hellish game; and the terror 
of war gripped one's heartstrings that night. The 
momentary flash of the exploding shells lighted up 
the faces of the men with ghastly vividness, some 
grinding out curses then groping blindly on. I was 
glad when the j ourney was ended, and I turned into 
a dug-out in the village fo rest for the night. 
Next morning a misty, drizzly pall still hung over 
everything. I wondered how in the world our men 
were going fo attack under such conditions, and fo- 



morrow was " The Day." I pitied them with all rny 
heart and soul. And then I thought of rnyself, and 
.my own particular job. I couldn't possibly " take " 
in such disgusting weather. The result would be 
an absolute failure. I controlled rny feelings, and 
hoped for the best. 
The fiine arrived for the General's speech. 
Reaching the field, I round all the rnen rnustcred up. 
The Gcneral had just arrived. I started fo filin the 
scenes as they presented thernselves fo me. Jove! 
The speech was the inost irnpressive that I had ever 
heard. I will give if as if was spoken, as near as I 
can. I do not think that it has been published 
belote : 

" Oflïccrs and mon of the West Riding Field Company, R.E., 
and -- Battalion, Royal Fusiliers : 
" I hoped yesterday to be able to corne and wish you good 
luck, on the first annivcrsary of the engagement in Gully Ravine, 
there the Royal Fusiliers took the Turkish fifth line of trenches. 
Owing to the tain, however, and to the discomfort to which 
you would have been placed, I postponed my visit until 
" I want to tell you something of the situation as it now stands. 
You are probably aware that we are now taking part in the 
greatest battle ever fought by British troops. Not only is it of 
far more importance than any fight since Waterloo, but the 
numbers engaged far exceed any assembly of troops in former 
days. The strength of this army,--the Fourth Army--under 
General Sir tt. S. Rawlinson, is -- times as large as the force 
of British troops at Mons, when we first came out a year and a 
hall ago. 
" The importance of winning a great victory is so great that 
nothing has been left undonc fo ensure success. But the higher 
Commanders know--and I know--that ail the best arrange- 
ments in the world cannot win battles. Battles are won by 
infantry, and it is to the battalions like yourself that we look 
to gain a great victory, equal to the great victory which the 
Russians have obtained this month. 
" The Germans are shut in all round. On their northern flank 
they are shut in by the Bfitish Navy, on the eastern flank pressed 
back by the Russians, on the southern flank the Italians are 
advancing, and this week, on the western flank, certain Divisions 


of the French and many Divisions of the British are determined 
to break their line and drive them back to their own country. 
'« Officers and men of the -- Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers : 
You are very fortunate in having this opportunity to add to the 
high honours already gained by your distinguished regiment. 
Not only, however, are you fighting for your battalion and your 
regiment, you are fighting fo maintain against the Germans the 
saine high reputation which you have won for the -- Division 
on the Gallipoli Peninsula. More than that, you are fighting for 
your country, and also you are fighting for Christianity and 
Humanity. You are fighting for truth and iustice against 
oppression. We are fighting for our liberty against slavery. 
" It is now thirty-three years since I was first associated with 
the Royal Fusiliers, the regiment I have looked up to dufing 
all my service as a pattern of smartness and efficiency. I have 
served with you in Gibraltar, Egypt, and many stations in India ; 
also at Aldershot, and on the Gallipoli Peninsula during the past 
year. There is no regiment in the service in which I have had a 
higher confidence, and I hope next week to be able to assemble 
you again and to congratulate you on the great victory that you 
are going to win for me, as commanding this Division, and for 
your country." 

The faces of the men shone with a new light. It 
seemed as if they had seen a sight which other 
mortals were not allowed to look upon. As upright 
as poplars, chests well forward and heads thrown 
back, their souls seemed to speak out of their in- 
flexible determination fo win. They marched away, 
going to that stretch of land from which many bave 
never returned--giving their lives for freedom and 
the honour of England. 
I turned and gave a parting wave of the hand to 
a group of officers standing by. 
" See you to-night," I said, " a± the ' White City.' 
We will drink to the health of ' The Day,' " and with 
a parting laugh I moved away. 
I round out through H.Q. that some of our I5-inch 
howitzers were in the vicinity, so I decided to film 
them without delay, to work them into the story of 
the battle. I discovered their position on my map. 
I reached the battery. The state of the ground was 

indescribable. It was more like a " sea of mud," 
and standing in the middle of this morass was the 
giant gun, for all the world like a horrible frog squat- 
ring on its haunches. Each rime it breathed it 
belched out flame and smoke wffh the most un- 
earthly crash that could possibly be produced, and 
wih each breah there flew wffh it a mass of metal 
and high explosive weighing fourteen hundred 
pounds, scattering death and destruction for 
hundreds of yards round the point of impact in the 
German defences, so that our boys might find it 
easier 4o force their way through. 
I filmed the firing several rimes, from various 
points of view, and when standing only about fifteen 
yards away the concussion shook the ground like a 
miniature earthquake. On one occasion, indeed, it 
lifted my camera and tripod in Che air, driving it 
crashing into my chest. I had unknowingly placed 
myself in the danger zone which forms a semi-circle 
on effher side of the muzzle when fired, the force 
being at rimes so great as to tear trees up by the roots 
and send them crashing to the ground. 
The prospects for " The Day " were certainly bad. 
As one burly Lancashire lad said to me" " the 
Devil was looking after his own ; but we are going 
to beat them, sir." That was the spirit of all the 
men I met there. 
I went direct fo B.H.Q. to get a full supply of 
film stock before going to the front line. I wished 
to get there early, to bave a final look round and a 
discussion wih the offlcers. 
A man I knew was there, looking for all the world 
like a man down and out. He had a face as long as 
a fiddle, and several other offlcers were looking just 
as glum. " You're a cheerful lot," I said. " What's 
up ? Anything wrong ? " 
" Yes, rather," they replied, " the day is 
postponed for forty-eight hours." 


(;REA.'I" SOM/IE FII;HT, JUI 'V ISl', 1916 

0:" t1  t_ £V sLC  

SOMME, t'L'," IST. 1916 


" Great Scott ! Why ? " I asked. 
" The weather," he answered laconically. " It's 
quite impossible for out chaps to go over the top in 
such sticky stuff. They wouldn't stand an earthly. 
As I said before, it's doing ifs best to upset the whole 
affair. I know the men will be awfully disappointed. 
We can hardly hold them back now--but there, I 
suppose the Commander-in-Chier knows best. Un- 
doubtedly it's a wise decision. The weather may 
break--God knows it couldn't be worse ! " 
At that molnent the Brigade-General came iii. 
He was looking quite bright. 
"I hear 'The Day' has been postponed, sir," 
I said. " Is that oncial ? " 
" Yes," he said. " If the wcather improves ever 
such a little if will pay us for waiting, and of course 
if will suit you much better ? " 
" Rather," I replied. " If also gives me more 
rime to film the preliminary scenes. I shall, how- 
ever, keep fo my programme, and go to the trenches 
this afternoon." 
I packed ai1 my apparatus together, put some 
bully and biscuits in my bag, and started off once 
more for the trenches. I adroit that on the journey 
thoughts crept into my mind, and I wondered 
whether I should return. Outwardly I was merry 
and bright, but inwardly--well, I admit I fclt a bit 
nervous. And yet, I had an instinctive feeling that 
ail would be well, that I need hot worry. Such is the 
complex mystery of the human mind, battling within 
itself against ifs own knowledge, ifs own decisions, 
ifs own instincts. And yet there is a predominating 
force which seems fo shuffle itself out of the midst 
of that chaotic state of mind, and holds itself up as 
a beacon-light, saying " Follow me, believe in me, 
let me guide you, all will be well." And if is the man 
who allows himself fo be guided by that mysterious 
something, which for the want of a better narne 


we may call" instinct," who benefits, both spiritually 
and materially, by it. 
The usual big gun duel was proceeding with its 
usual intensity, but we were putting over about 
fifty shells to the Huns' one. " Crump " fell both 
ahead and behind me, compelling me, as before, fo 
fall fiat upon the ground. I reached the "Fifth 
Avenue." The trench was full of men taking down 
munitions. The news of the postponement had by 
some means reached them ; they also were looking 
rather glum. 
Ye Gods, I thought, ifs very nearly worth while 
fo risk walking along the top. In places there was 
quite two feet of mud and water fo wallow through. 
" Fritz is crumping down the bottom of the 
Avenue, sir," said a Tommy fo me; " just caught 
several of our lads--dirty blighters: right in the 
trench, sir." 
" Thanks," I replied. 
Thinking there might be an opportunity of getting 
some scenes of shell-bursts, I hurried on as fast as 
conditions would permit. With men coming up, 
and myself and others going down, with full packs 
on, it was most difficult fo squeeze past each other. 
At times if was impossible, so climbing up on fo the 
parapet, I crawled into another traverse further along. 
Just then another shell burst lower down, but 
well away from the trench, hurting no one. I 
eventually reached the " White City "" without 
mishap, and was greeted enthusiastically by the 
officers prescrit. 
" What's the programme now ? "' 
"I am waiting for the final kick-off," I said. 
" Are you going to give me a good show ? And don't 
forger," I said, " hold back some of your bayonet- 
work on Fritz until I get there with my machine." 
" But you're not coming after us with that affair, 
are you ? " 

" Yes, certainly; ber your life I shan't be far 
behind. As soon as you ge± into Bosche trenches 
I shall be ±here ; so don't forget--get there." 
From ±he corner some one shouted: "Tell 
brother Fritz if he gets out of 'the limits,' won't 
yot ? " This remark caused much laughter. 
" Where have you heard that term used ? " I 
enquired. " ' Limits ' is a technical terre." 
" Yes, I heard it used once, a year or two ago. I 
was staying at a small place called Sterning, near 
Brighton. A Film Company was taking scenes in 
the village and on the downs. They had about two 
hundred horsemen and an immense crowd, and were 
rehearsing a scene for what I was told was a repre- 
sentation of the Battle of Worcester. It was some 
fight. The camera man was continually shouing 
out to them to keep in 'the limits ' (I assumed he 
meant the angle of view). As I say, it was some 
fight. Everything went well until a section of the 
men, who were supposed fo run away, got a few 
genuine kaaocks on the head and, wishing to get their 
own back, they continued fighting. It was the 
funniest thing in the world. Of course the camera 
was stopped, and the scene retaken." 
" That's extraordinary,'" I replied. " Do you 
know tha± I was the chap who filmed that scene ? 
it was for a film play called ' King Charles.' Ifs 
very peculiar how one meets. I remember that 
incident .quite well." 
I agaln filmed various scenes of the Germans 
" strafing " out lines. Out guns, as usual, were 
crashing out. They were pouring concentrated tire 
on the Hawthorn Redoubt, a stronghold of the 
Germans, and thinking it would yield an excellent 
picture, I ruade my way to a point of vantage, 
whence I could get an unobstructed field of view. 
There was only one place, and that was a point 
directly opposite. To get there it was necessary to 

cross a sunken road about twenty-five feet wide. 
But if was under continual tire from German machine 
guns, and being broad daylight it was absolutely 
asking for trouble, thick and unadulterated, to 
attempt fo cross if. I was advised hot fo do so, and 
I adroit I ought fo have taken the advice. Any- 
way, the opportunity of getting such a fine scene of 
a barrage of tire was too strong, and for once my 
cautionary instincts were af fault. 
To reach the sunken road was comparatively easy. 
You had only fo walk along out Iront line trench, 
and fall down fiat on the ground when a German 
shell burst near you, then proceed. I reached the 
junction where the road ran across af right angles, 
and from tlae shelter of our parapet the road looked 
the quietest place on earth. If appeared easy 
enough fo me fo jump up quickly, run across and 
drop on the further side in our trench. 
" Ridiculously easy ! I'm going across," I said fo 
my man. " When I'm over l'Il throw a cord across 
for you fo rie my tripod on fo; then I'll pull it 
across. If will save you attempting if." 
I tied the camera on my shoulders, so as fo have 
my arms quite free. I was now ready. The firing 
was renewed with redoubled vigour. Shells I could 
see were falling on the Hun lines like hailstones. 
" Jove ! " I said fo myself, " I shall miss if. Here 
Clambering up fo the road level, I sprawled out 
fiat and lay perfectly sill for a few seconds, with 
my heart jumping like a steam engine. Nothing 
happened. I gradually drew up my leg, dug the toe 
of my boot in the ground, and pushed myself forward 
bit by bit. So far, so good : I was half-way across. 
I was congratulating myself on my easy task. "What 
in the world ana I lying here for ? " I asked myself ; 
"why shouldn't I run the remaining distance ? " And 
suiting the action fo the word, I got upwand found 

trouble! I had barely raised myself fo my hands 
and knees when, with a rattle and a rush, a stream 
of bullets came swishing by, some striking the ground 
on my left, about nine feet away. 
I took the whole situation in in a flash. To lie 
there was almost certain death ; fo stand up was 
worse; fo go back was as bad as going forward. 
What happened afterwards I don't know. I could 
hear the bullets whizzing by my head with an ugly 
hiss. The next moment, with a j ump and a spring, 
I landed head first in the trench on the opposite side. 
For the moment I did hot know whether I was hit 
or hot. I unstrapped my camera, fo see if if had 
caught any bullets, but, thank Heavcn, they had 
cleared if. Some of our men wcre standing looking 
aghast af me, and xvondering xvhat the devil if was 
that had marie such a sudden dire iltO their midst. 
The look on their faces was just too funny for words ; 
I had fo roar with laughter, and, realising that I was 
sale, they also joined in. 
But I was hot out of the wood yet, for brother 
Fritz immediately turned " whizz-bangs " on fo us. 
" Phut-bang," " phut-bang," they came. Every 
one scampered for cover. Needless fo say, I did so 
too. Five minutes went by. Ail the rime these 
souvenirs dropped around us, but luckily none of 
them got any direct hits on our trench. 
I thought I would wait another rive minutes, fo 
see i/t3osche would cease tire. t3ut hot he. He was 
rather cross about my crossing the road safely. 
Time went by. Still the firing continued. I 
decided fo risk throwing the cord and pulling over 
my tripod. Keeping low, I yelled fo my man: 
he, like a sage, had also taken cover, but hearing 
my shouts came out. 
" The rope is coming," I yelled. " Tug if as a 
signal, when you have if." 
" Right," came the reply. 

Three rimes I threw it before I received the 
welcome tug af the other end. Then a voice 
shouted : " Pull away, sir." 
I pulled. I had 4o do if gently, otherwise the 
broken nature of the ground might damage the head. 
At las it was .safely over, but Bosche had seen 
something movmg, across; hen he turned his 
typewriter on agmn. More bullets flew by, but 
with the exception of one which struck the metal 
revolving top and sliced out a piece as evenly as 
if if had been done by machine, no harm was 
I bade one of the men shoulder my tripod. We 
rushed up the trench as fas as possible, and I 
thanked Heaven for my escape. XX'hen I reached 
the section where I judged if best fo fit up my 
camera, I gently peeped over he parapet. What a 
sight. Never in my life had I seen such a hurricane 
of tire. If was inconceivable that any living thing 
could exist anywhere near if. The shells were 
coming over so fast and furious tha it seemed as if 
they must be ouching each other on their journey 
through the air. 
To get my camera up was the work of a few 
seconds. I had no rime fo put any covering material 
over if. The risk had 4o be run, he picture was 
worth ff. Up went my camera well above the 
parapet and, quickly sighting my object, I started 
fo expose. Swinging the machine first one way then 
the other, I turned the handle continuously. Pieces 
of shell were flying and ripping past close overhead. 
They seemed fo get nearer every rime. Vhether 
they were splinters from he bursting shells or 
bullets from machine guns I could not tell, but ff 
got so hot af last tha I j udged iX wise fo take cover. 
I had exposed sufficient film for my purpose, so 
quickly unscrewing the camera, my man aking the 
ripod, I hurried in:o a dug-ou for cover. " Jove ! " 

I thought, mopping the perspiration from my head, 
" quite near enough tobe healthy ! " 
Although the men were ail taking cover, they 
were as happy as crickets over this " strafe." There 
is nothing a Tommy likes more than to sec out 
artillery plastering Bosche trenches into " Pots- 
" Well, what's the next move ? " I was asked. 
"Trench Mortars," I said. " Both ' Flying Pigs ' 
and 'Plum Puddings' ought to make topping 
" Yes," the Captain said. " They are in action 
this aftemoon, and I ara in charge of FI.T.M. I'll 
give you a good show. I have only one pit available, 
as Frffz dropped a ' crump ' in the other yesterday, 
and blew lhe whole show to smithereens. My 
sergeant was sitting smoking at the time, and when 
she blew up it lifted him clean oui of the trench, 
without even so much as scratching him. He turned 
round to me, and cursed 13osche for spoiling his 
smoke. He's promised to get his own back on 
' 13rother Fritz.' 13et your life he will 
I-Ie had hardly ceased speaking, vhen our dug- 
oui shook as if a mine had gone up close by. I 
tumbled oui, followed by the others. Lumps of 
earth fell on our heads; I certainly thought the 
roof was coming in on us. Getting into the trench, 
the bombardment was still going strong, and looking 
on my left I saw a dense cloud of smoke in our own 
firing trench. 
" What in the world's up ? " I enquired of a man 
close by. 
" Dunno, sir," he said. " I believe it's a 13osche 
mine. It ruade enough fuss to be one, yet it seems 
in such an extraordinary position." 
" Iffow about getting round to have a look af it ? " 
I said to  
" Right-o," he said; " but you know we can't 

cross the road there. I lhink if we back well down, 
aboul one hundred yards, we may nip across inlo 
No. 2 Avenue. That'll bring us oui near ' Jacob's 
Ladder.' " 
" Lead on," I said. "I wish I had known. I 
came in across the road there," poinling down our 
firing lrench. 
" You've gol more pluck lhan I bave," he said. 
" You can congralulate yourself lhat you are alive. 
Anyway, corne on." 
Evenlually I reached " Jacob's Ladder," and 
asked an Offlcer what had happened. 
" I don'l know," he said ; " but whatever it was, 
k's smashed our fronl trench for about eighly yards : 
it's absolutely impassable." 
Another officer came running up ai that moment. 
" I say," he said, " there's a scene up lhere for you. 
A lrench mortar gun had a. premalure bursl, and 
exploded all the munition in the pli; blew lhe 
whole lol--men and all lo pieces. II's ruade a 
craler thirty yards across. II's a beastly wreck. 
Can't use thal section of the fronl line. And to 
make malters worse, Fritz is pumping over tear- 
shells. Everybody is tickled lo dealh with 
" Don'l cheer me up, will you ? " I remarked. 
" I'm going lo film the trench mortar this afternoon, 
bolh the H.T.M. and lhe 2-inch Gee. I can lhank 
my lucky slars I didn't decide to do them earlier. 
Anyway, here goes; the lighl is getting rather 
The officer with whom I was talking kindly offered 
lo guide me lo lhe spot. Crumps were still falling, 
and so was lhe rain. " We'll go lhrough « Lanwick 
Slreet,' then bear to lhe leK, and don't forgel to 
keep your head down." 
There are two things I detesl more lhan any- 
thing else in the trenches : they are « whizz-bangs " 



JUIY ISI', I916 


and rats. The latter got mixed up in my leet as I was 
walking through the trench, and onc, more impudent 
than the test, whcn I crouched down fo avoid a 
burst, iumped on fo my back and sprang away into 
the mud. 
" We will turn back and go by way ol ' White 
City,' then up King Strcet. If may be cooler there." 
If certainly was hot. hcalthy in this neighbour- 
Turning back, I bade my man iol]ow close behind. 
Entering the main trcnch, I hurried along, and was 
quitc ncar the King Strect turning whcn a Hun 
" crump " came tearing ovcrhead. I vc]Icd out to 
my man fo takc covcr, and crushed into the entrance 
ol a dug-out mysel/. In doing so, I upset a cantcen 
of tca over a buckct-fire which one of out lads was 
preparing to drink. His remarks were drowned in 
the explosion ol the she]l, which landed barely 
twenty-fivc feet away. 
"Now then," I called fo my man, "run for if into 
King Strcet," and I got there iust in timc fo crouch 
down and escapc another " crump " vhich came 
hurtling over. In a flash I knew it was coming very 
near- I crouchcd lower. If burst with a sickening 
sound. If seemed iust overhcad. Dirt and rubble 
poured over me as I lay there. I rushed fo the 
corner fo see where if had struck. If had landed 
only twelve feet from the dug-out entrance which 
I had left only a few seconds before, and it had 
killed the two men whom I had crushed against, 
and for the loss of whose tea I was responsible. 
It was not the time or place to hang about, so I 
hurried fo the trench-mortar pit fo finish my scenes 
whilst daylight lasted. 
I met the officer in charge of the T.M. 
" Keep your head down," he shouted, as I turned 
round a traverse. " Our parapet has been practically 
wiped out, and there is a sniper in the far corner of 

the village. He has been dropping his pelles ino 
my show all day, and Fritz bas been splashing me 
wffh his ' Minnies ' fo ry and find my gun, but he 
will never get ff. Just look af the mess around." 
I was looking. I would have beaen the finest 
Indian scout 4o try and disinguish he rench from 
the débris and honeycomb of shell-holes. 
" Where the deuce is your outfit ? " I said, looking 
" You follow me, but don' show an inch of head 
above. Look out." Phu-bang came a pip-squeak. 
If stru.k and burst about rive yards in front of us. 
" BroCher lriz is confoundedly inconsiderate," he 
said. "He seems fo want all he earh o himself. 
Corne on ; we'll get there his rime, and run for if." 
After clambering, crawling, running and jumping, 
we reached a hole in he ground, ino which he head 
and shoulders of a man were j us disappearing. 
" This is my abode of love," said my guide. " How 
do you like i ? " 
I looked down, and af he depth of about twelve 
feet was a trench mortar. The hole ffself was, of 
course, boarded round wih imber, and was about 
seven feet square. There was a gallery leading back 
under out parapet for he distance of abou eighy 
feet, and in this were sored the bombs. The men 
also shelered here. 
I let myself down wffh my camera and threaded 
by the numerous " plum puddings " lying here: 
I fixed my camera up and awaffed he order for he 
men fo commence firing. 
" Are you ready ? " came a voice from above. 
" Right, sir," replied he sergeant. I began ex- 
posing my film. 
" Fire ! " the T.M. officer shouted down. 
Fire they did, and the concussion nearly knocked 
me head over heels. I was quite unprepared for 
such a backblast. Belote they fired again, I got a 

naan to hold down the front leg of nay tripod. The 
gun was recharged ; the order to tire was given, 
the lanyard was pulled, but no explosion. 
" Hullo, another" 
" Misfire," was the polite renaark of the sergeant. 
" Those fuses are giving us naore trouble than 
Another detonator was put on, everything was 
ready again. Another tug was given. Again no 
Renaenabering the happenings of the morning in 
another pit, when a prenaature burst occurred, I felt 
anything but conafortable. Sitting in the middle of 
about one hundred trench naortar bonabs, visions of 
the whole show going up canae fo nae. 
Another detonator was put in. " Firc," canae the 
order. Again it failed. 
" Look here, sergeant," I said, " if that bally 
thing happens again I'm off." 
" The blessed thing has never been so bad before, 
sir. Let's bave one naore try." 
Still another detonator was put in. I began turn- 
ing the handle of my canaera. This rime it was 
" That's ail I want," I said. " l'na off. Hand me 
up nay camera. And with due respect fo your gun," 
I said to the T.M. officer, " you naight cease tire until 
I ana about fifty yards away. I don't naind risking 
Brother Fritz's 'strafe,' but I do object to the 
possibility of being scattered fo the four winds of 
heaven by out own shells." And with a laugh and 
good wishes, I left him. 
"I say," he called out, " corne into my dug-out 
to-night, will you ? It's just in front of Fifth 
Avenue. I shall be there in about hall an hour ; I 
bave got fo give Fritz a few naore souvenirs to go on 
with. There is a little naore wire left over there, 
and the C.O. wants it all' strafed ' away. Do corne, 

won't you ? So long. See you later. Keep your 
head down." 
" Right-o! " I said, with a laugh. " Physician, 
heal thyself. A little higher, and you might as well 
be sitting on the parapet." He turned round sharply, 
then dropped on his knees. 
" Strafe that bally parapet. I forgot all about it. 
Fire! " he yelled, and I laughed ai the pleasure he 
was getting out of blowing up Fritz. 
I scrambled and slithered back into the recognised 
trench again, and on my way back filmed the H.T.M., 
or " Flying Pig," in action. By lhis time it was 
getting raiher dull, so going to a dug-oui, I dropped 
my apparatus, and had another final look at the 
position from which I was going to film the great 
attack in the morning. 



A Firework Display Heralds the Arrival of " The Day "--How the 
Boys Spent Their Last Few Hours in the Trenches--Rats as 
Bedfellows--I Make an Early Start--And Get Through a Mine- 
shaft into «' No Man's Land "--The Great Event Draws Near-- 
Anxious Moments--The Mon Fix Bayonets--And XVait the 
Word of Command to" Go Over the Top." 

D ARKNESS came, and with if a host of star- 
shells, or Verey lights, which were shot up 
high in the air from both the German and 
our own trenches. They looked for all the world like 
a huge firework display af the Crystal Palace. 
Rain had ceased. The heavens were studded with 
countless millions of stars. " Great prospects for 
to-morrow," said one. "I hope ifs fine, for he 
sake of the boys. They are as keen as mustard to 
go over the top." 
As we talked, batch after batch of men came 
gliding by in their full kit, smoking and chatting. 
While I was standing there hundreds must bave 
passed me in that narrow trench, quietly going to 
their allotted positions. Now and again sharp orders 
were given by their officers. 
" How's your section, sergeant ? Are you fitted 
up ? " 
" Yes, sir," came a voice from the blackness. 
" Now, lads, corne along : get through as quickly 
as possible. Post your sentries at once, and be 
It was not long before little red rires were gleaming 
out of the dug-out entrances, and crowds of rnen 


were crouching round, heating their canteens of 
water, some frying pieces of meat, others heating 
soup, and all the rime laughing and carrying on a 
most animated conversation. From other groups 
came the subdued humming of favourite songs. 
Some were cursing and swearing, but with such a 
bluntness that, if I may say so, it seemed o take all 
the profanity from the words. 
And these men knew they xvere going " over the 
top " in the morning. The day which they had 
dreamed of was about fo materialise. They knew 
that many would not be alive to-morrow night, yet 
I never saw a sad face nor heard a word of complaint. 
My feeling whilst watching these men in the glow of 
the firelight was almost indescribable. I was filled 
with awe at their behaviour. I reverenced them 
more than I had ever done belote ; and I Ielt like 
going down on my knees and thanking God I was an 
Englishman. No words of mine can fitly describe 
this wonderful scene. And all the rime more men, 
and still more men, were pouring into the trenches, 
and munitions of all descriptions were being served 
The bursting German shells, and the shrieks over- 
head of the missiles from our own guns, were for the 
moment forgotten in the immensity of the sights 
around me. I turned and groped the way back fo 
my shelter and, as I did so, out tire increased in 
intensity. This was the prelude to the greatest 
attack ever made in the history of the world, and 
ere the sun set on the morrow many of these heroes-- 
the Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal Fusiliers, Middle- 
sex, etc.mwould be lying dead on the field of 
battle, their lives sacrificed that civilisation might 
At last I found a friend, and sitting down fo our 
box-table we had a meal together. Afterwards I 
wandered out, and entered several other dug-outs, 

where friends were resting. They all seemed anxious 
for the morning fo corne. I met the mining officer. 
"I say; let me check my watch by yours," I 
said. " As the mine is going up at 7.20 I shall want 
fo start my machine about half a minute before- 
" Right-o ! " he said. We then checked watches. 
I bade him good night, and also the others, and the 
best of luck. 
" Saine fo you," they cried in general chorus. 
"I hope fo heavens you get through with it, and 
show them all af home in England how the boys 
fight. They will then remise what war really means. 
Good night, old man." 
" Good night," I replied, and then round my way 
back fo the shelter. I rolled myself in a blanket, 
and tried fo sleep. 
The night was very col& I lay shivering in my 
blanket and could hot get warm. The guns were 
continually crashing out. Shells were bursting just 
outside with appalling regularity. Suddenly they 
seemed fo quieten down, as if by some means the 
Germans had got fo know of our great plans and 
were preparing for the blow. Presently everything 
was comparatively quiet, except for the scurrying 
of countless rats, running and jumping over my 
body, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. 
I expect I must have dozed off fo sleep, for when I 
awoke day was breaking, and the din of the gun-fire 
was terrific. Innumerable worlds seemed to be 
crashing together, and if sounded as if thousands of 
peals of thunder had concentrated themselves into 
one soul-terrifying roar. 
An officer looked in af the entrance at that 
" Hullo !" he said. " Are you the' movie-man' ? " 
" Yes," I said, sitting up. " What's up ? " 
" Well, I'm hanged; I'm glad l've tound you. 

Do you know, I asked several Johnnies down the 
line if you were in the trenches and they laughed at 
me ; asked me if I had been drinking.; they thought 
I was pulling their leg. 'A movle man m the 
trenches,' they said, in tones of amazement ; 'not 
likely ! ' I told them that you were here last night, 
and that you are here to fihn the attack. Well, any- 
way, this is what I have tome for. The Colonel 
sent me--you know him--to sec if you would film a 
company of our men in occupation of Sunken Road. 
They occupied it during the night without a single 
casualty, by tunnelling for about fifty yards through 
the parapet, under ' No Man's Land ' ; then sapped 
up and into the road. Ifs a fine piece of work,'" 
he said, " and would make a good picture." 
" Rather," I said ; " l'll tome. It will be 
splendid from the historical point of view. Can you 
let me have a guide, to show me the quickest and 
best way ? " 
" Yes, I will send one of our pioneers ; he will 
guide you," he said. " Let me knoxv hov you get on, 
won't you ? And, if possible, when you return call 
in and sec the Colonel. He will be frightfully 
" Right-o ! "" I said. " By Gad ! ifs bally cold. 
My teeth won't hold still. Push that man along, 
and l'll get off." 
" Au revoir," he called out as he left. " Sec you 
The guide turned up a few minutes afterwards ; 
he took the tripod, I the camera. I started off and 
entered King Street, making my way towards the 
firing trench. I bave described in previous chapters 
what it was like to be under an intense bombard- 
ment. I have attempted to analyse my feelings 
when lying in the trenches vith shells bursting 
directly overhead. I have been in all sorts of places, 
under heavy shell-fire, but for intensity and near- 




ness--nothing--absolutely nothing--compared with 
,the frightful and demoralising nature of the shell-fire 
which I experienced during that journey. 
I had only just reached King Street, when it 
started on that section. Bosche was fairly plaster- 
ing the whole trench, and smashing down our 
parapets in the most methodical manner. Four 
men passed me, with horrible wounds ; another was 
being carried on the shoulders of his comrades, one 
arm being blown clean off, leaving flesh and 
remnants of cloth hanging down in a horrible 
manner. The shells fell in front, overhead and 
behind us. 
I bent low and rushed through traverse after 
traverse, halting when a shell burst in the trench 
itself round the next bend, sending a ghastly blast 
of flame and choking fumes full in my face. Atone 
point I halted, hardly knowing which way to go; 
my guide was crouching as low as possible on the 
ground. The further I went, the worse if got; 
shrieking, splitting shells seemed to envelop us. I 
looked back. The same. In front, another burst ; 
the flames swept right into my face. If I had been 
standing up it would have killed me without a doubt. 
To go back was as dangerous as fo advance, and fo 
stay where I was--well, it was worse, if anything. 
Truth to tell, I had gone so far now that I did not 
like turning back ; the picture of our men in Sunken 
Road attracted me like a magnet. 
" Go on," I shouted to the guide. " We'll get 
through somehow. Are you game ? " 
" Yes, sir," said he. 
We ran round the next traverse, and had fo 
scramble over a heap of débris caused by a shell a 
few moments before. 
" Look out, sir t There are some dead men here, 
and the parapet has practically disappeared. Get 
down on your stomach and crawl along." 

Phut-bang! The shells crashed on the parapet 
with the rapidity of machine-gun tire. 
I went down, and crawled along over the dead 
bodies of some of out lads killed only a few minutes 
belote. If couldn't be helped. Purgatory, in ail 
its hideous shapes and forms, could not possibly be 
worse than this j ourney. If seemed years getting 
through that hellish tire. 
" How much more ? " I yelled out. 
" We are quite near now, sir; about twenty 
" Rush for it, then--rush." 
I did, and my guide pulled up quickly af the 
entrance of what seemed like a mine. 
" Incline in here, sir," he said, and disappeared. 
I followed. N ever in all my experience had I 
welcomed cover as I did at that moment. 
" Hold on a bit," I said, " for rive minutes' 
breathing space." 
The tunnel was no more than tvo feet six inches 
wide and rive feet high. Men inside were passing 
ammunition from one fo the other in an endless 
chain and disappearing into the bowels of the 
The shaft took a downward trend. It was only 
by squeezing past the munition bearers that we were 
able to proceed af all, and in some places it was 
impossible for more than one to crush through at a 
rime. By the light of an electric torch, stuck in the 
mud, I was able to see the men. They were wet with 
perspiration, steaming, in fact; stripped to the waist; 
working like Trojans, each doing the work of six 
The journey seemed endless. I could tell by the 
position that I was climbing. My guide was still in 
front, and letting me know of his whereabouts by 
shouting : " Straight ahead, sir ! Mind this hole ! " 
The latter part of the shatt seemed practically 

upright. I dragged my camera along by the strap 
attached fo the case. It was impossible fo carry it. 
We were nearing daylight. I could see a gleam 
only a few feet away. Af last we came fo the exit. 
My guide was there. 
" Keep down low, sir. This sap is only four feet 
deep. It's been done during the night, about fifty 
yards of it. We are in 'No Man's Land' now, 
and if the Germans had any idea we were here, 
the place would soon be an inferno." 
" Go ahead," I said. It was diflïcult to imagine 
we were midway between the Hun lines and out own. 
It was practically inconceivable. The shell-fire 
seemed just as bad as ever behind in the trenches, 
but here if was simply heavenly. The only thing 
one had to do was to keep as low as possible and 
wriggle along. The ground sloped downwards. 
The end of the sap came in sight. My guide was 
crouching there, and in Iront of him, about thirty 
feet away, running af right angles on both sides, 
was a roadway, overgrown with grass and pitted 
with shell-holes. The bank immediately in Iront 
was lined with the stumps of trees and a rough hedge, 
and there lined up, crouching as close to the bank 
as possible, were some of our men. They were the 
Lancashire Fusiliers, with bayonets fixed, and ready 
to spring forward. 
" Keep low as you run across the road, sir. The 
Bosche can see right along it; make straight for 
the other side." With that he tan across, and I 
followed. Then I set my camera up and filmed the 
scene. I had to take every precaution in getting my 
machine in position, keeping if close to the bank, 
as a false step would have exposed the position to 
the Bosche, who would have immediately turned on 
H.E. shrapnel, and might have enfiladed the whole 
road from either flank. 
I filmed the waiting Fusiliers. Some of them 


looked happy and gay, others sat with stern, set 
faces, realising the great task in front of them. 
I had finished taking my scenes, and asked an 
officer if the Colonel was there. 
" No, but you may find him in ' White 
City.' He was there about an hour ago. Great 
heavens," he said, " who would have believed that 
a ' movic-man ' vould be here, the nearest point fo 
Bosche lines on the whole front. You must like your 
job. Hanged if I envy you. Anyway, hope fo see 
you affer the show, if I haven't 'gone West.' 
Cheero," and with that he left me. 
Packing up my camera, I prepared to return. 
Time was getting on. It was now 6.30 a.m. The 
attack was timed for 7.20. As I wanted fo obtain 
some scenes of out men taking up their final positions, 
I told my guide to start. 
" Duck as low as possible," I said, " when you 
cross the road." I 
" We can't go yet, sir; munitions are being 
brought through, and, as you know, there isn't room 
to pass one another." 
I waited until the last man had corne in from the 
sap, then, practically on hands and knees, made for 
the sap mouth. 
" Cheer up, boys," I shouted to the men as I 
parted from them, " best of luck ; hope to see you 
in the village." 
" Hope so, sir," came a general chorus in reply. 
Again I struggled through the narrow slit, then 
down the shaff and finally into the tunnel. We 
groped out way along as best we could. The place 
was full of men. It was only possible to get my 
tripod and camera along by passing it from one to 
another. Then as the men stooped low I stepped 
over them, eventually 'reaching the other end--and 
The " strafe "was still on, but not quite so violent. 


Our parapets were in a sorry condition, battered out 
of ail shape. 
Returning through King Street, I was just in rime 
to film some of the men fixing bay'onets before being 
sent to their respective stations in the firing trench. 
The great moment was drawing near. I admit I was 
feeling a wee bit nervous. The mental and nervous 
excitement under such conditions was very great. 
Every one was in a state of suppressed excitement. 
On the way I passed an officer I knew. 
" Are you going over ? " I said. 
" Rather," he replied, " the whole lot of us. 
Some stunt, eh ! " 
" Don't forger," I said, " the camera will be on 
you ; good luck! " 
Bidding my man collect the tripod and camera, 
I made for the position on Jacob's Ladder. But I 
was to receive a rude shock. The shelling of the 
morning had practically blown it all down. But 
there was sufficient for a clearance ail around for my 
purpose, and sufficient shelter against stray bits of 
shrapnel. I prepared to put up my camera. Not 
quite satisfied, I left it about thirty yards away, to 
view the situation quickly, as there were only twenty 
minutes to go. Hardly had I left the machine than 
a " whizz-bang " fell and struck the parapet im- 
mediately above the ladder, tumbling the whole lot 
of sandbags down like a pack of cards. 
It was a lucky escape for me. The position was 
absolutely no use now, and I had to choose another. 
Time was short. I hastily fixed my camera on the 
side of the small bank, this side of our firing trench, 
with my lens pointing towards the Hawthorn 
Redoubt, where the mine--the largest " blown " on 
the British Front--was going up. It was loaded 
with twenty tons of a new explosive of tremendous 
destructive power, and it had taken seven months 
to build. 


Gee, what an awakening for Bosche ! 
My camera was now set ready fo start exposing. 
I looked along the trench. The men were ready and 
waiting the great moment. 
One little group was discussing the prospects of 
a race across " No Man's Land." 
" Bet you, Jim, l'll get there first." 
" Right-o ! How much ? " 
" A day's p y, was the reply. 
" Take me on, too, will you ? " said another hero. 
" Yes. Saine terres, eh ? Good enough." 
" Say Bill," he called to his pal, " pay up from 
my cash if I ' go West.' " 
" Shut up, Iathead; we have to kill Huns, 
' strafe ' them." 
I turned away fo speak to an officer as to the 
" Very good," he said. "I hope they don't 
plaster out trenches before all the men get out. 
They are as keen as nmstard. Never known them 
so bright. Look at them now ; ail smoking." 
Out guns were still pounding heavily, and the din 
and concuson was awful. To hear oneself speak 
if was absolutely necessary fo shout. 
" You are in a prety rocky position," some one 
said to me. " Fritz will be sure fo plaster this front 
pretty well as soon as out men ' get over.' " 
" Can't help it," I said ; " my machine must have 
a clear view. I must take the risk. How's the time 
going . " 
" It's ' seven-ten ' now," he said. 
" I ara going to stand by. Cheero ; best of luck ! " 
I left him, and stood by my machine. The minutes 
dragged on. Still the guns crashed out. The German 
tire had died down a bit during the last half-hour. 
I glanced down out trenches. The officers were 
giving final instructions. Every man was in his 
place. The first fo go over would be he engineers, 

fo wire the crater. They were all ready, crouching 
down, with their implements in their hands. 
Time : 7.15 a.m. ! 
Heavens! how the minutes dragged. If seemed 
like a lifetime waiting there. My nerves were strung 
up to a high pitch ; my heart was thumping like a 
steam-hammer. I gave a quick glance at an officer 
close by. He was mopping the perspiration from 
his brow, and clutching his stick, first in one hand 
then in the other--quite unconsciously, I am sure. 
He looked at his watch. Another three minutes 
went by. 
Would nothing ever happen ? 




A Mighty Convulsion Signalises the Commencement of Operations--- 
Then Our t3oys " Go Over the Top "--A Fine Film Obtained 
whilst Shells Rained Around Me--My Apparatus is Struck---But, 
Thank Goodncss. the Camera is Safe--Arrival ot the Wounded-- 
" Ana I in the Picture ? "' they ask. 

IME" 7.I9 a.m. My hand grasped the 
handle of the camera. I set my teeth. 
My whole mind was concentrated upon 
my work. Another thirty seconds passed. 
started turning the handle, two revolutions per 
second, no more, no less. I noticed how regxllar I 
was turning. (My object in exposing hall a minute 
beforehand was fo get the naine from the moment 
it broke ground.) I fixed my eyes on the Redoubt. 
Any second now. Surely it was rime. It seemed fo 
me as if I had been turning for hours. Great 
heavens ! Surely it had not misfired. 
Why doesn't it go up ? 
I looked af my exposure dial. I had used over 
a thousand feet. The horrible thought flashed 
through my mind, that my film might run out before 
the mine blew. Would it go up before I had rime fo 
reload ? The thought brought beads of perspira- 
tion to my forehead. The agony was awful; 
indescribable. My hand began to shake. Another 
250 feet exposed. I had fo keep on. 
Then if happened. 
The ground where I stood gave a mighty con- 
vulsion. It rocked and swayed. I gripped hold of 
my tripod to steady myself. Then, for all the world 

AF 7.20 A.M. "1"1-11:4 H[rGE MI\lg I.OAI»ED V,, ITtl 20 "lOiN.", OF A3,11\«I A'['IICH 
|'OOK 7 MC'-NIH', 1"¢3 MAKF,, VA.% SPRI.'NI; ['NIER "i|IE ;I-.RMAN "IRF.NI'|II/', 


like a gigantic sponge, the earth rose in the air fo 
the height of hundreds of feet. Higher and higher 
it rose, and with a horrible, grinding roar the earth 
fell back upon itself, leaving in its place a rnountain 
of srnoke. Frorn the rnornent the mine went up rny 
feelings changed. The crisis was over, and frorn that 
second I was cold, cool, and calculating. I looked 
upon all that followed frorn the purely pictorial point 
of view, and even felt annoyed if a shell burst out- 
side the range of rny carnera. Why couldn't Bosche 
put that shell a little nearer ? It would rnake a 
better picture. And so rny thoughts ran on. 
The earth was down. I swung rny carnera round 
on to our own parapets. The engineers were 
swarrning over the top, and strearning along the 
sky-line. Our guns redoubled their tire. The 
Germans then started H.E. Shrapnel began falling 
in the rnidst of out advancing rnen. I continued to 
turn the handle of rny carnera, viewing .the whole 
attack through rny view-finder, first swmging one 
way and then the other. 
Then another signal rang out, and from the 
trenches irnrnediately in front of rne, our wonderful 
troops went over the top. What a picture it was! 
They went over as one man. I could see while I was 
exposing, that nurnbers were shot down before they 
reached the top of the parapet; others just the 
other side. They went across the ground in swarrns, 
and rnarvel upon rnarvels, still srnoking cigarettes. 
One man actually stopped in the rniddle of " No 
Man's Land " to light up again. 
The Germans had by now realised that the great 
attack had corne. Shrapnel poured into our trenches 
with the object of keeping our supports frorn corning 
up. They had even got their " crurnps " and high- 
explosive shrapnel into the rniddle of our boys 
before they were half-way across " No Man's Land." 
But still they kept on. At that moment rny spool 

tan out. I hurriedly loaded up again, and putting 
the first priceless spool in my case, I gave if fo my 
man in a dug-out to take care of, impressing upon 
him that he must hOt leave it under any clrcum- 
stances. If anything unforeseen happened he was to 
take it back to Headquarters. 
I rushed back fo my machine again. Shells were 
exploding quite close fo me. At least I was told so 
afterwards by an officer. But I was so occupied 
with my work that I was quite unconscious of their 
proximity. I began filming once more. The first lot 
of men, or rather the remainder of them, had dis- 
appeared in the haze and smoke, punctured by 
bursting shells. What was happening in the German 
lines I did not know. Other men were coming up 
and going over the top. The German machine-gun 
tire was not quite so deadly now, but out men 
suffered badly from shell-fire. On several occasions 
I noticed men run and take temporary cover in the 
shell-holes, but their ranks were being terribly 
Still more went over, and still a stream of men 
were making for the mine crater; they then dis- 
appeared in the smoke. The noise was terrific. It 
was as if the earth were lifting bodily, and crashing 
against some immovable object. The very heavens 
seemed to be falling. Thousands of things were 
happening af the saine moment. The mind could 
not begin fo grasp the barest margin of if. 
The German shells were crashing ail round me. 
Dirt was being flung in my face, cutting it like 
whipcord. My only thought was whether any of it 
had struck my lens and ruade it dirty, for this would 
bave spoiled my film. I gave a quick glance af if. 
If was quite all right. 
Fearful fighting was taking place in the German 
trenches. The heavy rattle of machine-guns, the 
terrible din of exploding bombs, could be heard 


above the pandemonium. Our men had ceased fo 
flow from our trenches. I crept fo the top of the 
parapet, and looked towards the left of the village 
of Beaumont Hamel. Our guns were bursting on the 
other side of the village, but I could distinguish 
nothing else as fo how things were going. 
I asked an oflîcer who was standing close by. 
" God knows," he replied. " Everything over 
there is so mixed up. The General said this was the 
hardest part of the line fo get through, and my word 
if seems like if, fo look at our poor lads." 
I could see them strewn ail over the ground, swept 
down by the accursed machine-gun tire. 
A quick succession of shell-bursts attracted my 
attention. Back to my camera position. Another 
lot of our men were going over the top. I began 
exposing, keeping them in my camera view all the 
time, as they were crossing, by revolving my tripod 
Shell after shell crashed in the middle of them, 
leaving ghastly gaps, but other men quickly filled 
them up, passing through the smoke, and over the 
bodies of their comrades, as if there were no such 
thing as a shell in ail the world. Another spool ran 
out, making the fourth since the attack started. 
I gave if in charge of my man, with the saine instruc- 
tions as before. I loaded again, and had just started 
exposing. Something attracted my attention on the 
extreme left. What if was I don't know. I ceased 
turning, but still holding the handle, I veered round 
the front of my camera. The next moment, with a 
shriek and a flash, a shell fell and exploded before 
I had rime to take shelter. If was only a few feet 
away. What happened after I hardly know. There 
was the grinding crash of a bursting shell; some- 
thing struck my tripod, the whole thing, camera and 
ail, was flung against me. I clutched if and staggered 
back, holding if in my arms. I dragged if into a 


shrapnel-proof shelter, sat down and looked for the 
damage. A piece of the shell had struck the tripod 
and cut the legs clean in half, on one side, carrying 
about six inches of if away. The camera, thank 
heaven, was untouched. 
Calling my man, we hastily round some pieces of 
wood, old telephone wire and string, and vithin an 
hour had improvised legs, rigid enough to continue 
taking scenes. 
I again set up my camera. Our gun-fire was still 
terrible, but the Germans had shortened their range 
and were evidently putting a barrage on our 
lnen, who had presumably reached the enemy's 
iront trenches. Nobody knew anything definitely. 
Wounded men began to arrive. There was a rush 
for news. 
" How are things going ? " we asked. 
" We have taken their first and second line," said 
An ofiïcer passed on a stretcher. 
" How are things going ? " 
" God knows," he said. " I believe we have got 
through their first line and part of the village, but 
don't know whether we shall be able to hold out ; we 
have been thinned shockingly." 
" Have you been successful ?" he asked me. 
" Yes, l've got the whole of the attack." 
" Good man," he said. 
First one rumour then another came through. 
There was nothing definite. The fighting over 
there was furious. I filmed various scenes of 
our wounded coming in over the parapet; then 
through the trenches. Lines of them were awaiting 
Scenes crowded upon me. Wounded and more 
wounded ; men who a few hours beiore had leaped 
over the parapet full of lire and vigour were now 
dribbling back. Some of them shattered and broken 

for lire. But it was one of the most glorious charges 
ever made in the history of the world. These men 
had done their bit. 
" Hullo," I said to one passing through on a 
srecher, " got a ' blighty ' ? " 
" Yes, sir," he said; " rather sure Blighty for 
" And for me too," said another lad lying wffh him 
waifing attention, "I shan't be able to play footer 
any more. Look ! " I followed the direction of his 
finger, and could see through the rough bandages 
that his foot had been taken completely off. Yet he 
was still cheerful, and smoking. 
A grea± many asked me as they came through : 
" Was I in the picture, sir ? " I had to say " yes " 
to them all, which pleased them immensely. 
Sfill no definite news. The heavy firing con- 
tinued. I noticed several of our wounded men lying 
in shell-holes in " No Man's Land." They were 
calling for assistance. Every rime a Red Cross man 
attempted to get near them, a hidden German 
machine-gun fired. Several were killed whiist trying 
to bring in the wounded. The cries of one poor 
fellow attracted the attention of a trench-mortar 
man. He asked for a volunteer to go with him, and 
bfing ±he poor fellow in. A man stepped forward, 
and together they climbed the parapet, and threaded 
their way through the barbed wlre very slowly. 
Nearer and nearer they crept. We stood wa±ching 
with bated breath. Would they reach him ? Yes. 
At last ! Then hastily binding up the injured man's 
wounds they picked him up between them, and 
with a run made for our parapet. The swine of a 
German blazed away at them with his machine- 
gun. But marvellous to relate neither of them were 
I filmed the rescue from the start to the finish, 
until they passed me in the trench, a mass of 


perspiration. Upon the back of one was the un- 
conscious man he had rescued, but twenty minutes 
after these two had gone through hell to rescue him, 
the poor fellow died. 
During the day those two men rescued twenty 
men in this fashion under heavy tire. 


TliF, ROI.l. CAl.i, o1." "FILE SI.AFORTIlS Al" "' W]IITE CITY,'" RFA! MON'i" 
llAMEI., .IUIY /S'I', I@I6 




A Glorious Band of Wounded Heroes Stagger Into Line and Answer the 
CallmI Visit a Stricken Friend in a Dug-outmOn the Way to La 
Boisselle I Get Lost in the Trenches--And Whilst Filming 
expectedly Corne Upon the German Line--I Have a Narr,,w 
Squeak of Being Crumped--But Get Away Safely--And later 
Commandeer a Couple of German Prisoners to Act as Porters. 

HE day wore on. The success of the fight- 
ing swayed first this way, then that. The 
casualties mounted higher and higher. Men 
were coming back into our trenches maimed and 
broken ; they all had different tales fo tell. I passed 
along talking to and cheering our wonderful men 
as much as I could. And the Germans, to add fo this 
ghastly whirlpool of horror, threw shell after shell 
into the dressing station, killing and wounding 
afresh the gallant lads who had gone " over the 
top " that morning. They seemed fo know of this 
place and played upon it with a gloating, fiendish 
glee worthy only .of unspeakable savages. 
As I was passlng one group of wounded, I ran 
against my doctor friend of the night before. 
" Busy day for you ? " I said. 
" My word, yes," he replied. " They are coming 
faster than I can attend fo them. I ara just off to see 
P He's caught it badly." 
" Sefious ? " I asked. 
"Yes, rather ; in the back. He's in the dug-out." 
And the doctor rushed away. I followed him. 
P was lying there on a stretcher looking ghastly. 
The doctor was bending over him. Poor old chap. 

Only that morning he had hooked me oui to film the 
sunken road scenes as full of lire and hope as any- 
one could conceive. Now he was on his back, a 
broken wreck. In the trenches there were hundreds 
of cases as bad, or even worse, but lhey did not 
affect me. There were far too many for the mind to 
fully grasp their meaning. But down here in this 
dark dug-out, twenty feet below the earth, the 
sombre surroundings only illuminated by a guttering 
candle in a bottle, I was far more affected. Il was 
nalural though, for one always feels things more 
when some one one knows is concerned. 
P-- was the first to speak. 
" Hullo, old man," he said in a husky, low voice. 
" You've pulled through ? " 
" Yes," I replied. " But ' touchwood ' ! I'm so 
sorry. Anyway, you're all right for ' Blighty,'" and 
fo cheer him up I coninued in a bantering strain : 
" You knew how to manage if, eh ? Jolly artful, you 
know." His face lighted up with a wan stalle. 
"Yes, Malins, rather a long ' Blighty,' I'm afraid." 
Two stretcher-bearers came in ai that moment lo 
take him away. With difficulty they got him out 
of the trench, and grasping his hand I bade him 
" I'm glad you got out boys, Malins. I do so want 
to see that film," were his last words. 
" l'Il show it to you when I get back to England," 
I called after him, and then he disappeared. 
The fighting was now beginning to die down. The 
remnants of four regiments were coming in. Each 
section was accumulating in spaces on their own. 
I realised that the roll-call was about to take place. 
I filmed them as lhey staggered forward and dropped 
down utterly worn oui, body and soul. By an almost 
superhuman effort many of them staggered to their 
feet again, and formed lhemselves into an irregular 

In one little space there were just two rhin linesw 
all that was left of a glorious regiment (barely one 
hundred men). I filmed the scene as it unfolded 
itself. The sergeant stood there with note-book 
resting on the end of his rifle, repeatedly putting 
his pencil through names that were missing. This 
.picture .was one of the most wonderful, the most 
lmpresslve that can be conceived. It ought to be 
painted and hung in all the picture galleries of the 
world, in all the schools and public buildings, and 
out children should be taught to regard it as the 
standard of man's self-sacrifice. 
I stayed in the trenches until the following day, 
filming scene after scene of out wounded. I learned 
that nothing more was to be attempted until later, 
when ffesh divisions were to be brought up. Know- 
ing this I decided to leave this section of the trenches. 
But the ghastly scenes of which I was witness will 
always remain a hideous nightmare in my memory, 
though I thank God I had been spared to fihn 
such tremendous scenes of supreme heroism and 
sacrifice in the cause of freedom. 
I got safely back through the trenches to , where 
Brigade H.Q. told me of an urgent message from 
G.H.Q. I was to report as soon as possible. On my 
way I called on General , who was delighted to 
hear I had successfully filmed the attack, the record 
of which would show the world how gloriously out 
men had fought. 
Reaching advanced G.H.Q. I reported myself. All 
were pleased to see me sale and sound, and to hear 
of my success. I was told that lively things were 
happening at La Boisselle. I heard also how suc- 
cessful out troops had been in other parts of the line. 
Fricourt and Mametz and a dozen other villages had 
fallen to out victorious troops. This news put new 
lire into me. At La Boisselle they said we had 
pushed through, and fighting was still going 

on. I decided to leave for that district right 
Passing through AlberŒE, I halted the car at the top 
of Becourt Wood. From this point I had fo walk. 
In the distance I could see hundreds of shells burst- 
ing, and guns were thundering out. I gave one 
camera fo my orderly and another had the tripod. 
Taking the second camera myself, I started off. We 
thieaded out way through the wood and out into 
the trenches. Shells were falling close by, but by 
hugging the parapet we got along fairly well. 
The communication trench seemed interminable. 
" Where the deuce ara I ? " I asked an officer in 
passing. " I want to get to out front trenches." 
" You want to go the other way. This trench 
leads back to -- " 
This was anything but cheering news. I had been 
wa.lking for about an bout, always seeming to just 
mlss the right turning. Truth to tell I had failed to 
provide myself with a trench map, and it was my 
first time in this section. The bursting shells were 
filling up the trenches, and I was becoming absolutely 
fogged. So, in sheer desperation--for the bombard- 
ment was getting more intense and I was afraid 
of losing pictures--I climbed on to the parapet to 
look round. What a scene of desolation. The first 
thing I saw was a dead German. That didn't help to 
cheer me up overmuch. Making a slight detour I 
stopped to fix the Hun front line if possible. Out 
own I could see. But no matter where I looked the 
Bosche line was apparently non-existent. Yet out 
shells were smashing into the ground, which seemed 
to be absolutely empty. 
I set up my camera and started to expose. While 
doing so I happened to glance down, for I must 
explain that I was on a slight mound. Which was 
the most surprised--the Bosche or myself--I do not 
know, for less than a hundred yards away was the 

German line. I stopped turning. Immediately I did 
so bullets came singing unpleasantly past my head. 
I dropped fiat on Che ground, which luckily for me 
was slightly protected by a ridge of earth. I dragged 
the camera down on top of me and, lying fiat, the 
bullets whizzed by overhead. The Bosche must 
have thought he had got me, Ior in a few moments tire 
ceased. I wriggled towards the trench and dropped 
like a log into the bottom, dragging my camera aIter 
me. One oI my men had followed, and seeing me 
drop, did the saine. He came tumbling head first 
into the trench. 
" That was a near squeak, sir," he said. " Yes, 
corne on, they will probably start shelling us. Cut 
through here. I noticed some German prisoners 
coming this way. I must get them. Where's le 
other man ? Keep him close up." 
Reaching a trench through which the German 
prisoners were being led, I hurriedly fixed my camera 
and filmed them shambling in, holding their hands 
up, their nerves completely shattered by the inten- 
sity of out terrific bombardment. Some were 
covered with wounds, others were carrying out 
wounded Tommies in on stretchers. It was an 
extraordinary sight. Ten minutes before these men 
were doing their utmost fo kill each other. Now, 
ffiend and foe were doing their best to help each 
other. Shells were dropping close by. One fell in Che 
midst of a group of prisoners and, bursting, killed 
fourteen and wounded eleven. The others were 
marched on. 
Whether I had been spotted or hot, I do hot know, 
but German shells were crumping unpleasantly near. 
I was just thinking of moving when another burst so 
close that if ruade me quickly decide. I looked round 
for my men. One was there ; the other was missing. 
" Get into a dug-ou," I yelled. "Where s 

" Don't know, sir," he said. 
He dived into a dug-out af the first shell which 
burst near. Af that moment another " crump " 
crashed down and exploded with a crunching roar, 
throwing a large quantity of earth all around me. 
One after another came over in quick succession. 
"W'here the devil is that fellow ? " I said to  
" He's got my aeroscope. When brother Fritz has 
smoothed down this little 'strafe' I will try and 
find him." 
" He was in that section, sir, where I3osche 
For over hall an hour the crumping continued, 
then if practically ceased. The Bosche evidently 
lhought he had distributed us to the four winds of 
heaven. I emerged from my shelter and hurriedly 
ran along the trench fo find my man. He was 
nowhere fo be found. Several dug-outs had been 
smashed in, and in one place the water in the trench 
was deep red with blood, and wading through this 
was anything but pleasant. At that moment a 
telephone man came up. 
" Can you tell me, sir, if there is a machine-gun 
position hereabouts ? I have been sent to run a 
wire." I was just replying when a crump came 
hurtling over. 
" Duck," I yelled, and duck we did. I tried to 
cover the whole of my body under my steel helmet, 
and crouching low on the ground, the crump burst 
just on the parapet above, showering huge lumps of 
dirt which clattered upon us. 
" You had better get out of this," I said, and 
suiting the action to the word I attempted to run, 
when another crump burst, this rime in the traverse 
close behind. Well, which of us ran the fastest for 
cover I don't know, but I was a good second ! 
The non-appearance of my other man worried me. 
He was nowhere tobe found. It occurred to me that 

as he did hOt find me on emerging from his dug-out, 
and as if was coming on fo tain, he had returned fo 
the car thinking he might find me there. Packing 
up my camera, herefore, I stared off, passing more 
prisoners on the way. I promptly collared two of 
them fo carry my tripod and camera, and as we 
proceeded I could no restrain a smile af the sight 
of two German prisoners hurrying along with my 
outfit, and a grinning Tommy with his inevitable 
cigarette between his lips, and a bayonet at the 
ready, coming up behind. I¢ was too funny for 
When I reached the car my lost man was not there. 
I enquired of several battle-police and strctcher- 
bearers if they had seen a man of his description 
wandering about, and carrying a leather case, but 
nobody had seen him. Af ter having a sandwich, I 
decided to go again to the Iront line fo find him. 
I could not leave him there. I must find out some- 
thing definite. On my way down I made further 
enquiries, but without result. I searched around 
those trenches until I was soaked fo the skin and 
fagged out, but not a trace of him could I discover ; 
not even my camera or pieces of if. The only thing 
that could bave happened, I thought, was that he had 
got into a dug-out, and the entrance had been blown 
in by heavy shell-fire. 
Retracing my steps I examined several smashed 
dug-outs. It was impossible to even attempt to lift 
the rubble. With gloomy thoughts I returned 
again to the car, and on my journey back left instruc- 
tions with various men to report anything found to 
the town major at -- I stayed the night in the 
vicinity in the hope of receiving news; but not a 
scrap came through. Again next day, and the next, 
I hunted the trenches, unsuccessfully, and finally 
I came fo the conclusion that he had been killed and 
decided to post him as missing. I had arrived af this 


decision whilst resting on the grass at the top of 
Becourt Wood and was making a meal of bully and 
biscuits when, looking up, I saw what I took to be 
an apparition of my missing man walking along the 
road and carrying a black case. I could scarcely 
believe my eyes. 
" Where the devil bave you been ? " I asked. 
" I was just on my way back to post you as missing. 
What bas happened ? '" 
" Well, sir, it was like this. When that shell burst 
I dived into a dug-out, and was quite all right. Then 
another shell burst and struck the entrance, smash- 
ing it in. I bave been all this rime trying fo get out. 
Then I lost my way and--weI1, sir, here I ara. But 
your camera case is spoilt." So ended his adventure. 
Thinking that the films I had obtained of the 
Somme fighting should be given to the public as 
quickly as possible, I suggested to G.H.Q.--and 
they fully agreed--that I should return fo England 
without delay. So packing up my belongings I 
returned fo London next day. 
Little rime was Iost in developing and printing the 
pictures, and the Military authorities, recognising 
what a splendid record they presented of " The 
Great Push," had copies prepared without delay for 
exhibition throughout the length and breadth of the 
land ; in our Dependencies over seas, and in neutral 
countries. They were handled with vonderful 
celerity by Mr. Will Jury, a member of the War 
Office Committee, and put out through the business 
organisation over which he so ably presides. It is 
sufficient here to record the deep and abiding im- 
pression created by the appearance of the films on 
the screen. People crowded the theatres fo see the 
pictures ; thousands were turned away ; and if bas 
been estimated that the number of those who bave 
seen these Official War Films must run into many 




The Somme Film has proved a mighty instrument 
in ihe service of recruiing; he newspapers sill 
ialk of ifs astounding realism, and if is generally 
admitied that he greai kinemaograph picture has 
done much 4o help he people of he British Empire 
to realise he wonderful spirit of out men in he face 
of almost insuperable difficulies ; the splendid way 
in which out grea citizen army has been organised ; 
the vastness of the military machine we have creaed 
during he las wo and a half years; and the 
immensity of the ask which still faces us. 
His Majesy the King has declared tha "the 
public should see these pictures "; and Mr. Lloyd 
George, after witnessing a display of he film, sent 
forth he following hrilling message to he nation: 
"Be up and doing! See hat this picture, which 
is in itself an epic of self-sacrifice and gallantry, 
reaches every one. Herald the deeds of out brave 
men 4o the ends of the earh. This is your duy." 
A thrilling message truly, and I am proud indeed 
fo think tha I have been permitted to play my part 
in he iaking and making of this wonderful film. 



The Process Described in Detail--Developing the Negative--Its 
Projection on the Screen--Cutting--Titling--Joining--Printing 
the Positive--13uilding Up the Story--It is Submitted to the 
Military Censors at General Headquarters--And After Being Cut 
and Approved by Them--Is Ready for Public Exhibition. 

N view of the immense and widespread interest 
aroused by the appearance of the Somme 
Film, it may perhaps be permissible to depart 
for a spell from the narration of my story, in order 
to explain briefly, for the benefit of those interested, 
how such a picture is prepared, and the various 
processes through which it must necessarily pass 
belote it is ready for public exhibition. 
The process is technically known as " editing," 
and it must be admitted that this part of the work 
more nearly approaches the art of the newspaper 
editor than any other I know. Indeed, I am not 
sure that the functions of the film editor--at least 
in the case of a picture such as the Somme Film-- 
do not call for a greater exercise of discretion, 
diplomacy and tact; for so many interests have 
to be taken into account ; so much has to be leIt 
out, for so much is at stake. 
Time and thought is doubly intensified in editing 
or cutting up the film in all its various scenes and 
assembling them in their right order with suitable 
sub-titles. Immediately films arrive in London 
they are sent by the-War Office fo the works, and 
there in a long dark-room, with many compart- 
ments, the film is wound upon wooden frames, about 



three feet by four feet. Each section as it is un- 
wound from the roll is numbered by a perforated 
machine, to save the unnecessary handling that 
would otherwise be caused if one had to wade 
through all the small sections to j oin in the original 
lengths in which they are received. 
The frames are then taken into the developing- 
room, where they are placed in tanks of developing 
mixture, warmed to a temperature of about sixty- 
rive degrees. It is there that the technique of a 
developing expert asserts itself ; he can either make 
or mar a film. During development the picture is 
carefully rinsed, and eventually it is ready for 
fixing. It is taken out, washed in a bath of pure 
water, and then dropped into an acid fixing bath 
and there allowed to remain until fixation is com- 
plete, usually a matter of about fiffeen minutes. 
The films are then taken to the washing-room, 
where they are placed in huge tanks, taking from 
fifty to one hundred frames, and each one holding 
one hundred and twenty feet of films. Jets of water 
run continually over them, and in an hour they are 
taken out and sent to the drying-room, where the 
film is rewound whilst wet upon very large drums, 
about thirty feet long and seven feet in diameter. 
An electric motor is then started, and the drum 
revolves at an ever-increasing speed. Drum after 
drum is loaded in the saine way, until the whole 
of the film is in position and the whirling continues 
until the negative is perfectly dry. 
Cleanliness in every possible respect is absolutely 
essential during the process of development, until 
the film is dry once more. The most minute speck 
of dust or foreign marrer might adhere to the wet 
emulsion permanently disfiguring if. Therefore to 
avoid this the utmost care must be maintained 
throughout, and the negative is now ready to be 
projected on the screen for the fir»t time in order 


to see that itis technically perfect in quality, and to 
decide upon the possibilities of a big feature film, 
or a series of short ones. 
For simplicity's sake we will assume that we are 
dealing with a subject such as the Battle of the 
Somme, approximately rive thousand feet in length. 
As the film is projected, notes are taken of each 
scene in strict rotation. The negative, as in the 
ordinary process of photography, is quite the reverse 
to the film shown in the picture theatre. The black 
portions of the picture as we see if on the screen are 
white, and all whites are black. It therefore calls 
for a highly trained eye fo be able to follow the film. 
Only now do I find out whether the scenes I have 
taken live up to my expectations. Sometimes yes 
--sometimes no. One great drawback is that the 
sounds are not there! When the projection is 
finished the whole of the negative is taken fo the 
cutting and joining-room. I take every reel, and 
each scene is cut out separately and titled by means 
of a label fastened fo the section by an elastic band. 
So the process goes on until I have the whole 
of the film cut up and registered. I often go through 
each scene again separately and closely scrutinise 
it, cutting out all blemishes, black stops, uninterest- 
ing sections of the scene, and many other faults 
which unavoidably present themselves. Belote 
going further I should say that the film is " taken " 
in lengths of four hundred feet, and they are always 
kept af that length and in a separate tin box. Even 
when they are cut up the sections go back into the 
saine tin. Each box is taken in turn and numbered 
one, two, three, four, rive, six, and so on. Number 
one contains ten sections, representing ten scenes. 
Each is labelled and every title is copied on a sheet 
of foolscap, and each section numbered and credited 
to box one. The process continues in this way 
until the whole negative is registered. 


Meantime I am mentally building up my film 
story. In story form if must grip the interest of the 
general public, and yet I have to keep fo strict 
military correctness. I think of my main title. 
That in itself is a great thing. It has to epitornise 
the story of the whole film. It has fo be short and 
if rnust " hold." The title once decided upon, the 
first reel rnust deal with preparatory action. I then 
take the lists prepared as described and call for my 
sections. For instance, nurnber twenty section, box 
fourteen; number twelve section, box six; and so 
on, gradually building up the first reel. The sub- 
titles rnust be appealing and concise, and in phrase- 
ology that can be easily understood by ail. 
Eventually reel number one is finished. All the 
sections are i oined together, with spaces marked 
for the titles. The saine process continues with the 
other reels. Number two rnust finish their story so 
far as preparatory action goes. You are then ready 
for the thrill, and the harder you can hit that thrill 
into reels three and four the greater the ultimate 
success of the film. Reel rive finishes the story. 
But after seeing a battle film through full of suffering 
and agony, as if unavoidably rnust be fo be genuine, 
you must hot leave the public with a biffer faste 
in their mouth at the end. The filin takes you fo 
the grave, but it must hot leave you there ; if shows 
you death in all ifs grim nakedness ; but after that 
itis essential that you should be restored to a sense 
of cheerfulness and i oy. That i oy cornes of the 
knowledge that in all this whirlpool of horrors out 
lads continue fo smile the srnile of victory. There- 
fore the film rnust finish with a touch of happiness 
to send you home frorn the picture theatre with a 
light heart--or at least as light a heart as circurn- 
stances permit. 
The film is now edited, and it goes into the printer's 
hands. A positive print is ruade frorn it on film 


stock, and after the printing the copies are returned 
fo the dark-room and the process of developing is 
gone through again, as in the case of a negative. 
The print is then dried and j oined up in its right 
order, and so divided that if makes rive reels. The 
titles by this rime have been corrected from the 
military point of view by the War Office, and are 
printed for insertion in their appropriate position. 
The length of reading marrer controls the length 
of the title tobe printed. In some instances if wfll 
take ten seconds fo read a title. Ten feet of film 
is therefore necessary for insertion between the 
scenes to explain them. In other cases three feet 
of titling suffices. 
The film is then shovn to the War Office officiais, 
and once they have approved it, itis packed in a 
safe and sent fo General Headquarters in France. 
Here it is again projected in a specially constructed 
theatre, before the chief censor and his staff, and it 
may happen that certain incidents or sections are 
deleted in view of their possible value fo the enemy. 
These excisions are carefully marked and upon the 
return of the film to London those sections are 
taken out and kept for future reference. The film 
is now ready for public exhibition. 



Three Times I Try and Fail to Reach this Stronghold of thc Dead 
Which Has Been Described as "" Hell on Earth "'--At a Dressing 
Station Under Fire--Smoking Two Cigarettes at a Time to Neep 
Off the Flies--Some Arnusing Trench Conversations by Men who 
had Lost Their Way--I Turn in for the Night--And Have a 
Dead Bosche for Company. 

I HAVE just corne Irom England airer seeing the 
Somme Film well on its way to the public. It 
has caused a great sensation. I really thought 
that some of the dead scenes would offend the 
British public. And yet why should they ? It is 
only a very mild touch of what is happening day 
after day, week after week, on the bloody plains of 
France and Belgium. Bloody ? Yes, inevitably so. 
There never was such dearly bought land since 
creation. The earth in the Somme district bas been 
soaked with the blood of men. Sit out on a field a 
mile or two from our Iront line any morning early, 
when the mist is iust rising. Sit out there on the 
ground which our boys bave Iought for and won. 
The place reeks with the horrible stench of countless 
decaying bodies, and every minute adds to their 
But the British public did not obiect fo these 
realistic scenes in the film. They realised that it 
was their duty fo sec for themselves. They had 
been told by the press; they had been told by 
Parliament ; they had been told by lecturers what 
was happening, but to no purpose. They must be 
shown; they must sec with their own eyes. And 

the kinematograph camera performed this service. 
Has it justified itself ? I put that question to all 
who bave seen the film. that effect did it have 
upon you ? Did you remise till you saw it what 
this vast battle-front was like ? Did you remise 
what our Army was doing; how our wonderful 
soldiers--your husbands, your sons, your brothers-- 
were driving the Huns back ; how they were going 
fo their death with a laugh upon their faces and a 
cigarette between their lips, fighting and dying like 
true Britons ? That those who came back wounded 
and broken still had that smile ? 
Yes" the truth bas af last dawned upon you. 
With that knowledge new resolutions were born 
within you; resolutions that bade you never to 
slack for an instant in your endeavour to bring 
success to our arms. 
Trones Wood! That naine had been drummed 
into my ears for days. It seemed to bave a fascina- 
tion for me. I asked several men to describe the 
" Quite impossible, sir ; there baint anything 
like it on earth, and if hell is at all like it then I 
bave been there. It's dead; just dead---dead-- 
dead ! And the smell--awful." 
" Is Fritz strafing there much ? " 
" Yes, sir, he's at it all day" there's not room 
for a cat to bide in, so why Fritz is dropping his 
souvenirs there heaven knows ; I don't." 
From the description the place seemed raher 
satisfactory from a scenic point of view, so I made 
up my mind to try and film it, as I wanted scenes 
of heavy bombardment which I could get if Fritz 
was concentrating upon the wood, for the Hun is 
a tolerably safe person fo deal with if he bas a target 
to tire af ; he is so methodical. 
Goin i up by my car as far as the top of Camoy 
Valley, I left it there near a dressing station. 

"Strafing !'" I was out for "strafing," and by all 
appearances I was likely fo get it hot and strong 
before long. I had only iust stopped when a shell 
came hurtling overhead, falling about one hundred 
and fifty yards behind the dressing station. I went 
over fo a doctor who was tending some wounded 
men--our own and Germans. 
" Has Fritz been sending you these souvenirs 
very offen ? " I enquired. 
The doctor rose, and mopping his forehead, 
grinned and replied : " Yes ; the blighter won't let 
us alone. Why doesn't he play cricket ? He must 
know this is Red Coss. That sign there," pointing 
fo a large Red Coss lying on the ground, " is large 
enoug.h fo be seen by the men in Mars. Only this 
mormng he put one bang through the roof of our 
dug-out, rewounding a lot of our chaps lying there. 
By the way, are you leaving your car there ? " 
" Yes," I replied. 
" Well, you had better say good-bye fo it ; several 
of our ambulances bave been strafed there." 
" Well," I said, " can't be helped ; it must take 
its chance. I'm going to take a few scenes of 
you at work. Where did these Bosches corne 
from ? " 
" This morning, from Guillemont ; our boys had 
a bit of a stunt on and landed a few of the 
I filmed various incidents showing the treatment 
of wounded prisoners. They received the saine careful 
attention as out own men ; whatever they asked for 
they had. Several padres were kneeling down 
beside our boys, taking down messages fo be sent 
to their relatives. 
Stretcher after stretcher with its human freight 
of Briton and Hun was deposited on the ground. 
Immediately doctors and orderlies were upon their 
knees tending to their wants with a gentleness that 


was wonderful. While I was there several shells 
fell and exploded only a short distance away. 
I lef the dressing station and paused upon a 
mound near a tree stump, the top of which had 
been carefully split off by shell-fire. I stood looking 
in the direction of Trones. The Bosches were 
" strafing " it pretty thoroughly. Away across at 
Montaubon village Xhe saine thing was happening. 
They were fairly watering Xhe place with H.E. and 
shrapnel. Our guns were rattling out as well, and I 
ara glad to say that iX sounded to me as though ours 
were at least ten fo their one. 
Well, the scenes had to be obtained. I adroit the 
i oh looked anything but pleasant. " Well, here 
goes !" I said, and putting on a cigarette, I trudged 
off with my apparatus across the open, making a 
bee-line midway between Montaubon and Bernafay 
Wood. I gave both places a wide berth, thereby 
steering clear of possible Bosche shells. How hot it 
was. Perspiration was literally pouring from me. I 
kept on over the ground captured from the Germans. 
The snell in places was almost unbearable. I puffed 
away at my cigarette, thereby reducing the stench 
to a minimum. 
Several shells came whizzing overhead in the 
direction of the dressing station I had just left. 
With a grînding crash they exploded. " Shrapnel, 
woolly bears," I said under my breath. They 
seemed to burst right on top of them too. I thought 
of all those poor wounded Tommies lying helpless 
on their stretchers. Another--then another---came 
hurtling over. The splitting crash of the burst can 
only be appreciated by those who have been in 
close proximity fo a German H.E. Woolly Bear 
exploding. It gives one rather a sickening sensa- 
tion. Another came over. This rime iX burst 
nearer. " Gee ! they're dropping the range." I 
hastily grabbed my tripod and hurried off at a tan- 


gent. Proceeding for a distance of about rive 
hundred yards I turned off again and ruade tracks 
for my original point. 
In front, af a distance of about seven hundred 
yards, one of our forward field batteries of 18- 
pounders opened tire. Iat first thought they were 
French 75 mm. owing to the extreme rapidity of 
tire. From my position I could not see the guns, but 
stretching across the country a rough line of brown 
earth was thrown up, which I afterwards round out 
was one of the old German lines. The guns were 
cunningly concealed in the trench. Thinking that it 
would make rather a good scene I decided to film 
it in action. 
I may add that I have previously been rather 
wary about having much to do with forward artillery 
positions. On three previous occasions I have been 
badly "strafed" by brother Fritz. He has the un- 
commonly irritating habit of putting his whizz- 
bangs much too near fo be pleasant, with the 
result that I have more than once been compelled 
to take my camera and self off fo the more con- 
genial quarters of a dug-out, from which place, you 
will agree, one cannot obtain very interesting 
Reaching the batteries I unlimbered myself ot 
my gear and approaching the C.O. in charge told 
him who I was and what I wanted. He was quite 
pleased fo see me and said that he was just about 
to give Fritz a good dose of " iron rations," firing 
in salvos. Quickly fixing up my camera I filmed 
the scenes from various points ot view. The men 
were stripped to the waist, jumping out the shells 
as fast as they could be handled. While I was 
filming the scene brother Fritz replied with whizz- 
bangs thick and fast. They are perfect devils, 
and itis practically impossible to hear them coming 
until they burst. I turned my machine round upon 



the spot near which they were dropping. Several 
times they got within the range of my camera, and 
I continued to turn upon them until two came much 
too close, so thinking discretion the better part of 
valour, I hastily disappeared into the doubtful 
shelter of a broken-down Hun trench. Then they 
came over, several smothering me in dust as they 
exploded close by. Having obtained all the pictures 
I required I thanked the C.O. and went on my 
My clothes were absolutely saturated with per- 
spiration as I shambled away towards the top end 
of Bernafay Wood. I looked back af the battery. 
t3osche was still " strafing." I vowed I would never 
go near any forward guns again ; but good resolu- 
tions are ruade to be broken, and my lust for pictures 
is too strong within me. 
Moving was now diflïcult. The weight of my 
camera outfit seemed fo be getting heavier. I could 
only get along at a very slow pace. The strap 
around my chest seemed to squeeze the very breath 
out of my lungs. But worse was fo corne. The Huns 
.began shelling the section with shrapnel in a search- 
mg manner, and several rimes I collapsed into a 
shell-hole, in the hope of obtaining a little cover. 
But there is very little shelter from shrapnel. On 
several occasions I felt like throwing away my 
steel helmet; the weight seemed abnormal; but 
prudence warned me and I clung to it. 
The tire was now too bad to proceed in the open. 
If there were any trenches or ditches I availed my- 
self of their protection. The heat in the trenches 
was terrific, and fo add to the horrors of the stench 
and heat there were millions of flies. Filthy brutes ! 
They seemed to cling to one like leeches, and, my 
arms being full, I could not keep them off my 
face. Several rimes I almost decided to turn back, 
asking myself if it was worth while. But when I 

looked at Trones Wood in the distance, and the 
heavy shells bursting all round, I gritted Iny teeth 
and decided fo push on. 
Thinking that Inore sinoke Inight help to keep 
off the flies I lighted two cigarettes and puffed away 
at thein, one in each corner of Iny Inouth. l'in sure 
I Inust have looked a Inost extraordinary speciinen 
of huinanity at this Inoinent. Loaded with kit, 
perspiring like a bull; Iny steel helinet cocked on 
one side of Iny head ; puffing away like a chiinney 
at two cigarettes, and Inillions of flies buzzing all 
around Ine. Picture Ine if you can. 
I was proceeding like an autoinaton along the 
trench when suddenly I caine upon an officer who, I 
afterwards found out, was going up to fix his next 
gun positions. He was sitting on a sandbag swearing 
like Hades, and trying to disperse the clouds of 
flies which were settling upon hiin. He looked up 
as I approached, then suddenly burst into a peal 
of laughter. I stood still and grinned, not daring 
to open Iny Inouth to laugh for fear of losing Iny 
cigarettes. Then I dropped Iny tripod and leaned 
against the trench side to rest. His laughter suddenly 
developed into a coughing and spluttering, spitting 
and swearing, which in itself was strong enough to 
drive all the flies in existence away. 
" Bust the things!" he spluttered. "I got a 
Inouthful of thein ! They Inight have iust coine off 
soine dirty Bosche. Got a drink on you ? " 
" Yes," I said, and handed hiin Iny water-bottle. 
He rinsed out his Inouth. 
"I do believe it's worth risking shrapnel rather 
than tolerate these vile things!" he reinarked. 
" But excuse Iny laughter; you did look funny 
coining along there." 
" Yes, I expect I did," I said, still puffing away af 
Iny cigarettes. " I'd sinoke a dozen at once if I 
could. Anything to keep the flies away." 

" Well," he said, " I'm stumped. Have you one 
to spare ? " 
I handed him my case. He lighted up and both 
of us, puffing as hard as we could, ruade quite a 
healthy volume of smoke. From above it must bave 
looked as if a small tire was raging. 
We had sat there alternately puffing and chatting 
and killing flics by the hundreds for about ten minutes. 
I told him I wanted to get some scenes of Troncs. 
He politely told me I ought fo bave my 
keeper out with me, but as he was golng In that 
direction he would help me on the way to being 
killed by carrying my tripod. 
We started off. The shelling was getting un- 
pleasantly near. Phoot-bang! We both ducked, 
my head getting a nasty knock against the tripod 
top. For the moment I thought I had been struck 
.by the whizz-bang. Presently we reached a junction 
in the trench, and as my friend's road lay in an 
opposite direction we parted, and I trudged on 
I was brought to a standstill by a mound of earth 
which completely blocked the way. By all appear- 
ances the shell that had caused it could bave only 
come over a few minutes before, for a rhin wisp of 
smoke was still curling up from the débris. " Well," 
I thought, placing my kit on the ground, " it's got 
tobe donc ; so over I go." Here the air was com- 
pletely free from flics. Evidently the gas from the 
bursting shell had choked them off for a rime. Jove ! 
I was glad. It was like heaven ; and my tongue was 
beginning fo burn rather badly through fiercely 
smoking two cigarettes at once. 
Cautiously I crept up to the top of the parapet ! 
What a sight! Shells were falling thick and fast 
over Troncs and towards Baentin-le-Grand. I must 
film this, Bosche or no Bosche ! So hastily fixing up 
my tripod, I fastened on the camera and began 

exposing. "Excellent," I thought ; '" l've got if." 
Another shell came along. This rime it was evidently 
a 59, and was right in the centre of my view, about 
one hundred and fifty yards away! Another one. 
Rotten ! Just out of my limits. Phut-bang ! Phut- 
bang ! I grabbed my camera and fell with it on the 
opposite side of the mound. I let it lie there, and 
dashing back into the other section of trench grabbed 
my bags and returned. Whizz-bangs followed; 
whizz-bangs in Iront and behind ! I crouched as low 
as possible and replacing the camera in its case hung 
if over my back and, still bending low, hurricd away 
dragging my tripod behind me. 
The trench was blocked by a batch of men return- 
ing. They were crouching down for cover. The 
officer in charge asked me what in the world I was 
" Thunder," he said, " if I knew the 'movie' 
man had been here I would bave gone the other 
way. You've evidently drawn tire by that con- 
traption of yours. Where are you going ? " 
" To Troncs Wood," I said. 
The look of blank amazement on his face was 
" My dear chap,'" he said, " are you serious ? " 
" Well," I replied, "I had intended going there 
till a moment ago, but the strafing seems to get 
Shrapnel was now bursting overhead, a piece 
hitting one of the men close by. 
" Where's he hit ? " enquired the officer. The poor 
fellow was lying down. 
" In the shoulder, sir," one of the others shouted 
back. " Seems rather bad." 
" Two of you bring him through and get ahead to 
the dressing station as quickly as possible. Keep 
your heads down." Then turning to me he officer 
said: " Look here, l've just corne from the Wood, 

and, by gad, it's fair hell there ! The place is a charnel- 
house. It's literally choked with corpses; heaps 
of them; and we dare not bring them in. We've 
tried even at night, but the shelling prevents us. 
The place reeks. And the files! They're awful. 
It's more than flesh and blood can stand! To put 
your head up means certain death and--well, you 
see what your camera did here. You can imagine 
what it would be like over there, can't you ? " 
" Yes, I see, but of course if I had known any 
mcn were about I wouldn't have put my machine 
up. I know there is always the possibility of drawing 
tire. It has happened quite a number of rimes to 
me! " 
" If you respect your life don't go any further. 
The shcll-fire is impossible, and the sight over there 
is too ghastly for words." 
So I decided to relinquish my visit for the rime 
A call was ruade to proceed. " Half a minute," I 
said, " the trench had been blown in about fifty 
yards down, wouldn't it be better to clear it away 
rather than take these men over the top ? " 
The officer decided that it was. The men worked 
.away with a will, and quickly replaced the earth 
in the hollow of the trench wall from which it had 
been blown. 
Again we trudged on. The flies were beginning 
to annoy us once more. I put on a couple of cigar- 
ettes. All the men had ransacked odds and ends 
from their pockets, and the result was a line of men 
smoking as hard as they could, and enveloped in a 
haze of bluish white smoke. But the flics refused to 
budge. Smoke had no effect on them, and I'm 
inclined to think that no±hing short of a 59 would 
do the trick. Not until we were out in the open 
were we free from them. 
On two further occasions I tried to enter Troncs 

Wood, and both rimes the conditions were if any- 
thing worse. The merest sign of a camera put up 
over a parapet would have instantly brought a host 
of shells clattering round; therefore, on the third 
try, I decided to abandon the trip until a later date. 
But those attempts will always remain in my memory 
as a ghastly nightmare. The essence of death and 
destruction, and all that it means, was horribly 
visible everywhere. 
I have been there since. I reached the place just 
before the final cleansing, and brother Fritz, just to 
let us know that he existed, and that he had a spire 
against us, persisted in flinging his shrapnel around, 
t.hereby keeping me well on the run. He did not 
glve me the slightest chance to ge.t pictures, nor to 
meditate on the surroundings; in fact the only 
meditation I indulged in was to wonder whether 
the next shrapnel bullet would strike my helmet 
plumb on the top or glance off the nm. Then 
thinking of George Grave's remark, I called Fritz a 
" nasty person," with a few extra additions culled 
from the " trench dictionary." 
Being a fine night I decided to stay in the vicinity. 
An officer of a pioneer battalion kindly offered me a 
share of his dug-out--one of Fritz's cast-offs. I 
gladly accepted, and over a cup--or rather a tin-- 
of tea, we exchanged views on various subjects. 
About ten o'clock I went above to terra firma and 
watched the shells bursting over the Gerrnan lines. 
Myriads of star-shells or Verey lights shot high in 
the sky, lighting up the whole country-side like day. 
The sight was wonderful, and silhouetted against 
the flashes I could sec countless bodies of men 
tramping on their way like silent phantoms. 
Here and there I watched a shell burst. I could 
sec and hear that if had dropped into a section of 
those men, adding fo the number of that great army 
of heroes who had already "gone West." But into 



fhose gaps, through which the blasting shells had 
torn their way, stepped ofher rnen. A sharp word 
of cornmand was rapped out, then on again fo take 
up their battle position, leaving the dead behind to 
be reverently buried on the morrow. The wounded 
were broughf away by fhe sfrefcher-bearers, and as 
one lot passed me I heard a voice frorn fhe darkness 
murrnur, " Bill, it's a blighty." 
I wandered on in the direction of our line. Near a 
junction of by-roads I heard sorne funny rernarks 
passed by ration parties frying to find fhe way fo 
their sections. To pick one's way in fhe dark over 
strange ground littered with débris is hot an easy 
task. The exact language I heard would hardly 
bear repeating. 
One party had evidenfly burnped into another. 
" D and  who are you ? Cawn'f yer see, 
mare, l'In taking up cornpany rations ? ]31irny, 
but 'ow the 'ell I arn going to find fhe way--blowed 
if I know. Do you know where- Cornpany is ? 
l'rn taking up sandbags. Lost me  way. 'Ave 
yer passed a dead 'orse ? I knowed I passed it 
corning up. Good night, rnafe." 
]3oth rnen went off into the darkness, swearing 
like troopers. Another man carne up. He was 
whistling a hornely song, but if carne to an abrupt 
conclusion, for he evidently sturnbled over sorne 
obstacle. Compliments began to fly, and he told 
the Bosche in plain language what he thoughf of 
hirn for leaving it there. His rernarks were too 
pointed for expression in cold print. 
The next to corne along was an engineering officer. 
He could faintly discern me in the darkness. 
" Hullo," he said. " Are you fhe   " 
" No," I replied. " l'rn sorry I can't help you, 
I haven't the least idea where they are. "Vhat's 
wrong ? " 
"I have to run otl.t sorne wires to-night, but 

bothered if I know where they are. Missed my 
way near the wood. Some silly ass sent me wrong." 
" Well," I said, " most of the troops I have seen 
have gone in that direction," pointing the way. He 
Apparently he was held up a minute or two later 
by some one else, for in the distance I heard a voice, 
" Do you know where -- Company is, sir ? " 
" No, I don't," in a rather irritated forte. "I 
can't find my own blooming way." 
This sort of thing went on for over an hour; first 
one then another. Whether all of them eventually 
found their various points Heaven only knows ! 
I had wandered so far, owing to my interest in 
other people, that I had some difficulty in retracing 
my steps fo the dug-out. Eventually I arrive there 
about one o'clock. I had been given up for lost. 
I told  of my experiences. 
" That kind of thing happens practically every 
night. They manage to find their way somehow. 
Corne along ; let's turn in. Look out for your head 
as you crawl through. Don't mind the rats. Cover 
your head well up. They won't touch your face 
I crawled in on to my bed. Then I noticed a 
peculiar and decidedly unpleasant smell. 
" Have you got any corpses here ? " I asked him. 
" Yes, I believe so," he said. " You see the other 
entrance has been blown in. It's the other end of 
your bed, and I believe some Bosches were buried 
in the débris. Never mind, stick it; they won't 
" Pleasant dreams," I mumbled as I drew my 
blanket well around my face ; in a few minutes the 
presence of dead Bosche ceased fo trouble me. I 



Looking for " Thrills "--And How I Got Them--I Pass Through 
" Sausage Vailey," on the Way to Pozières--You May and you 
Might--What a Tommy Found in a German Dug-out--How 
Fritz Got " Sorne of His Own " Back-Taking Pictures in What 
,Vas Once Pozières--" Proofs Ready To-morrow." 

HINGS, from my point of view, were slack- 
ening down. Plenty of preparatory action 
was taking place, and here and there small 
local engagements, but the fact that they were 
local made it very difficult for me fo get fo hear 
of them. None of the Corps Commanders knew 
exactly when or where the nibble would develop, 
or, if they did know, they were naturally chary of 
giving me the information. On occasions too when 
I did knov I had not sufficient rime to make my 
arrangements, I had to be content with scenes 
which unfolded themselves after the action had 
taken place. 
This was getting rather monotonous. The after- 
math of one attack vas to ail intents and purposes 
an exact replica of the previous one, except that the 
surroundings were different. There was the return 
of the attackers ; the bringing in of prisoners, the 
wounded, the dead; and to vary these scenes to 
make my pictures generally interesting required a 
lot of thought and a careful choice of »iew point. 
In the course of the " push," which began in July, 
there were hundreds, I might almost say thousands, 
of incidents that to the eye were of enthrailing 
interest, but to have filmed them with the idea of 


conveying that interest on the screen would bave 
been so much wasted effort. Even the kinemato- 
graph bas frs limitations. 
Over my head ail the rime, like a huge sword, 
hung the thought of British public opinion, and the 
opinion of neutral countries. They would accept 
nothing unless there was great excitement in it; 
unless the pictures contained such "thrills" as they 
had never seen before, and had never dreamed pos- 
sible. Once I had secured that thrill I could then-- 
and only then--take the preparatory scenes, de- 
picting the ordinary life and action of the men and 
the organisation which are necessary to run the 
war. Such scenes--interesting as they undoubtedly 
are--without that " thrill " would have fallen fiat, 
would bave been of no use, from the exhibition point 
of view, and I had always to bear that fact in mind. 
I bave spent many sleepless nights wondering 
how and where I was to obtain that magnetic thrill, 
that minute incident, probably only ten per cent of 
which would carry the remaining ninety per cent 
to success. One that would positively satisfy the 
I had been filming a lot of stuff lately, but when I 
looked through my list, excellent as the scenes were 
--many of which I would probably never be able to 
get again--they struck me as lacking " thrill." 
That was what I required. So I set out to get it. 
The Australians had just captured Pozières, and 
hearing that the Bosche were continually "strafing" 
it I decided to make for that quarter with the object 
of getting a good bombardment. If possible, I 
would also get into the village itself where there 
ought to be some very good pictures, for the capture 
had only taken place two days previously. 
Pozières then it should be. Leaving my base early 
in the morning I made my way through Becourt 
Wood and beyond, up " Sausage Valley "--why that 

naine I don't know. The whole area was crowded 
wffh men of Che Australian division. 
As there was no road I Cook my car over the 
grass, or rather all that was left of if. The place 
was covered with shell-holes. Driving between, 
and more offen than not into them, was tacher a 
tiresome job, but it saved several toiles of Cramping 
with heavy stuff. " Sausage Valley "' during Chis 
period was anything but healthy. I was warned 
about it as I leff an Australian battery where I had 
stayed fo inake a few enquiries. A major told me 
Che place was "strafed" every day, and I soon round 
that this was so when I arrived. Several " crumps " 
fell in the wood behind me, and two on the hill- 
side among some horses, killing several. If I saw 
one dead horse I must have seen dozens ; they were 
all over the place. But every one was much too 
busy fo bury them af the moment. The sCench was 
decidedly unpleasant, and the flies buzzed around 
in swarms. I soon had a couple of cigarettes alight. 
WhaC a boon they were af Cimes. 
After much dodging and twisting I halCed the car 
close to a forward dressing station. While I was there 
several shells dropped unpleasantly near, and I 
could not restrain my admiration for the medical 
staff who tended he wounded, quite oblivious of 
the dangers by which Chey were surrounded in so 
exposed a position. I obtained several very inter- 
esting scenes of the wounded arriving. 
I waited awhile to watch the Bosche shelling 
before going over the ridge to Pozières. I could 
then tell the sections he "strafed "most. I would be 
able Co avoid them as much as possible. I watched 
for Iully an hour; the variation in his Car.get was 
barely perceptible. On one or two occasions he 
" swept" the ridge. I decided to make a start 
after the next dose. 
Strapping the camera on my back, my man 


taking the tripod, we started off. There was a 
light railway running towards Contalmaison. I 
tollowed this until I got near the spot brother Fritz 
was aiming at, hugging a trench at the side of a by- 
road. The bank was lined with funk-holcs, which came 
in very useful during the journey, and I had to seek 
their shelter several rimes, but the nearest shell 
tell at a junction between that road and a com- 
munication trench. Just this side lay a very much 
dead horse. The shell came over. Down I went 
fiat on my stomach. My man dived into a hole. 
The shell exploded, and the next thing I remember 
was a feeling as if a ton ot bricks had fallen on top 
of me. I managed fo struggle up and make quickly 
for the trench, my man Iollowing ; and you may 
be quite sure I took care that I was well out of line 
of tlae next before I eased up. Beyond a few scratches 
on the camera-case and a torn coat, I was quite 
I was told of a Hun battery of 77 mm. guns on 
the left-hand side of the valley leading fo Pozières, 
so I decided to make for that spot. I enquired of a 
man as to the whereabouts of them. 
" Well, sir," he said, " you may corne to them if 
you keep straight on, but I shouldn't advise you to 
do so as you have to cross the open. Bosche has a 
pretty sharp eye on anyone there ; he knows the 
lay ot the battery and he just plasters it. You 
rnight get round at 'Dead Man's Corner,' on the 
Contalmaison Road. Ifs pretty bad there, but I 
think it's the best place fo try, and once you are 
round the corner you may be all right." 
" Well, which way do I take ? " 
" Down this way, then turn fo your left at the 
corner; the battery is about two hundred yards 
along on the bill-side." 
" But, man alive," I said, " they're strafing it 
like blazes. Look ! " 


They were, too, and 8-inch shells were dropping 
" No, I think I will take the risk and run over the 
open. Are there any dug-outs af the battery ? " 
" Yes, sir, j olly good ones; forty feet deep; 
regular beauties. Evidently ruade up their minds 
fo stay the winter. Electric light, libraries, and 
beds with real spring mattresses. My, sir, but they 
were comfortable. And what do you think I round 
there, sir ? " 
" Heaven knows," I replied. 
" Well, sir, several ladies' fringe nets and hair- 
" The devil you did. Well, Fritz knows how fo 
make himsclf cosy." 
With that remark we parted, Tommy having a 
broad grin on his face. 
" You will see the place where you get out of this 
ditch, sir," he called out; "a shell has blown if in; 
strike off on your left straight ahead. You'll see 
them in front of you." 
The shelling was getting very unpleasant, and I 
had to keep low in the trench the whole of the rime. 
Af length we reached the point where ve had fo 
get over the top. 
" Well, corne on, let's chance if," I said to my 
man. I saw the battery in the distance before 
getting over. 
Up we went and bending low raced for the spot. 
On the way I passed several dead bodies, all Bosche, 
and numbers of pieces blown fo bits by out shell 
tire. A whizz-bang came over whilst we were cross- 
ing. Down we went into a shell-hole. Another, and 
another came over. Murderous little brutes they 
were too. Seven of them. Then they ceased. We 
immediately jumped up again and reached out 
objective. Then getting under cover of some 
twisted .ironwork, which once formed the footing 


of the emplacement, I took breath. "Anyway,"I 
thought, "here I ara." 
In a few minutes I had a look round. What an 
excellent view of Pozières, about eight hundred 
yards away on my left. On the right was Contal- 
maison, which had only been taken a short rime 
previously. The Bosches were shelling the place 
pretty frequently. I set up the camera and waited. 
Away on the opposite hill shells were falling thickly. 
I started filming them and got some interesting 
bursts, both high explosive and H.E. shrapnel. 
Now for Pozières. The enemy must have been 
putting 9-inch and I2-inch stuff in there, for they 
were sending up huge clouds of smoke and débris. 
I secured some excellent scenes. First Pozières, 
then Contalmaison. My camera was first on one 
then on the other. For a change Bosche whizz-banged 
the battery. I could see now why he was so anxious 
fo crump if, for lying all around me in their carriers, 
were hundreds of gas shells. I was in fact standing 
on them. They were all unused, and if Fritz got a 
good one home, well good-bye to everything. 
One rime I thought I would seek the shelter of a 
dug-out, but the tire swept away in the opposite 
direction. By careful manoeuvring I managed to 
film the German guns there. Every one of the four 
was quite smashed up. An excellent example of 
artillery tire, and by the date upon them they were 
of the latest pattern. 
In all there were three batteries in that small 
area, making twelve guns. But out of the twelve 
sufficient parts were found intact fo make one good 
one, so that Fritz would get " some of his own '" 
back in a way that he least expected; for there 
were thousands of rounds of ammunition found in 
the dug-outs beneath the gun pifs. 
How to get into Pozières was the next problem. 
I had, while filming, been making mental notes as 


to the section which Fritz did not "strafe," and that 
place, by all that's wonderful, was the actual thing 
he was undoubtedly trying for--the road. 
By hugging the bank-side, along which here and 
there I could spot a few funk-holes, I managed fo 
get into the chalk-pit. Here I filmed various scenes, 
but Bosche, as usual, kept me on the jump with his 
shrapnel, forcing me to take hurried shelter from 
rime fo rime. 
There is one thing I shall always thank Fritz for, 
and that is his dug-outs. If he only knew how 
useful they had been fo me on many occasions I am 
sure he would feel flattered. 
From the chalk-pit fo Pozières was no great dis- 
tance. The ground was littered with every description 
of equipment, just as if had been left by the flying 
Huns, and dead bodies were everywhere. The place 
looked a veritable shambles. Believe me, I went 
along that road very gingerly, picking my way 
between the shell bursts. Just before I reached the 
place the firing suddenly ceased. The deadly silence 
was uncanny in the extreme ; in fact I seemed fo 
fear if more than the bombardment. If seemed to 
me too quiet fo be healthy. What was Bosche up 
to ? There must be some reason for if. I took 
cover in a shallow trench af the roadside. Along the 
bottom were lying several dead Bosches, and a short 
distance away fragments of human remains were 
strewn around. 
The place was desolate in the extreme. The village 
was absolutely non-existent. There was not a 
vestige of buildings remaining, with one exception, 
and that was a place called by the Germans " Gib- 
raltar," a reinforced concrete emplacement he had 
used for machine-guns. The few trees that had 
survived the terrible blasting were just stumps, no 
Fritz's sudden silence seemed uncanny, but taking 


advantage of his spell of inactivity I hastily rigged 
up the camera and began exposing. In a few 
minutes I had taken sufficient, and packing up I 
hurried down the road as fast as I could. 
I reached the chalk-pit safely and then, cutting 
across direct fo the gun pits, I took up my original 
position and awaited Fritz's good pleasure fo send 
a few more crump to provide me with scenes. But 
not a shell came over. 
Before leaving this section I thought I would 
film Contalmaison, a name immortalised by such 
fighting as has rarely been equalled even in this 
great war. To get there it was necessary fo go to 
" Dead Man's Corner." The road was pitted with 
shell-holes, and dead horses lay about on both sides. 
Boche was still uncannily quiet. I was beginning 
fo think I should just manage fo get my scenes 
before he interfered with me. But no! Either he 
had finished his lunch or had some more ammuni- 
tion, for he started again. One came over and burst 
in the village in Iront of me, with a noise like the 
crashing of ten thousand bottles. I took shelter 
behind a smashed-up limber, and xvaited fo see 
where the next would fall. It burst a little further 
away. Good enough, I thought. Here goes before 
he alters his range. 
Jumping up I ran and scrambled on to the ruins 
of a house, and took some fine panoramic views of 
the village, first from one position then from another. 
Some of the scenes included a few of our men in 
possession. Altogether a most interesting series, 
including as it did both Pozières and Contalmaison. 
It was the first time they had been filmed since their 
At that moment I heard another crump coming 
over. If seemed to be unpleasantly near, so I made 
a running dive for a dug-out entrance, from which 
poked the grinning face of an officer. 


" Look out," I yelled. 
Crash came the crump. 
" Near enough anyhow," I said, as a piece flew 
shrieking past close overhead. 
" Are you the 'movie' man ? I'm pleased fo 
meet you," he said. " Did you get me in that last 
scene ? " 
" Yes," I said. " Proofs ready to-morrow." And 
with a laugh I hurried down the road. 



His Majesty's Arrival af ]3oulogne--At G.H.Q.--General 's 
Appreciation--The King on the ]3attlefield of Fricourt--W'ithin 
Range of the Enemy's Guns--His Majesty's Joke Outside a 
German Dug-out--His Memento from a Flcro's Grave--His 
Visit to a Casualty Clearing Station--The King and the Puppy-- 
Once in DisgraceNow a Hospital Mascot. 

HAT evening I reported at headquarters. 
" Well, Malins," said Colonel , " I 
have a special job for you. Will you be on 
the quay at Boulogne to-morrow morning by twelve 
o'clock ? Captain  is going down ; he will make 
ail arrangements for you there ; he will also tell you 
who it is that's coming. Start at eight o'clock to- 
morrow morning. It is very important; so don't 
fail to be there." 
Leaving the Colonel I met Captain  outside. 
" Who's coming ? " I asked. 
" Don't know," he said. " Tell you to-morrow." 
" Is it the King ? " I asked. 
" Well," he said, " as a marrer of fact it is. He 
arrives to-morrow. I shall have the full programme 
in the morning, and will give you a copy." 
What a film! My first thought was whether he 
would visit the battlefield. What scenes I conjured 
up in my imagination. To see Britain's King on 
the battlefield with his troops ; to see him inspecting 
the ground; to see him in trenches lately captured 
from the Germans. My imagination began to run 
away with me. No, I thought, it will be just the 
ordinary reviews and reception. 



But I was wrong. The scenes that I had pictured 
to myself I was soon to witness. 
On the morrow the Captain, the still picture man 
and myself, left G.H.Q. for Boulogne. Arriving at 
the quay I looked around for any signs of prepara- 
tion, but the whole place was as usual. The Captain 
called at the A.M.L.O. 
" Do you know what ime the King is due ? " he 
The A.M.L.O. in tones of amazement ejaculated 
a long-drawn-out " What ; never heard of his 
" Well, he is," said the officer. " He's arriving at 
" I was ncver informed," said the other. " I will 
ring up the M.L.O." He did so, and after a short 
rime the information came through. " The King 
will hot arrive to-day; he will be here to-morrow 
at 9 a.m. His sailing was altered at the last moment." 
That night I turned in at the Hôtel Folkestone, 
making arrangements for my car to take me and my 
apparatus to the quay at 8.3o in the morning. 
The morning fortunateiy was beautifuliy bright. 
I sincerely hoped it would continue. What excellent 
quality it promised in the films. I compared it with 
the weather during the last visit to France of the 
late Lord Kitchener ; unfortunately it rained all the 
I arrived at the quay. The French officials were 
gathered there, and lined up was a guard of honour, 
formed by the Norh Staffordshire Regiment. Every 
man had been through many engagements during 
the war. 
I fixed up the camera. The boat had already 
drawn up by the quay-side. There was a hushed 
whisper from several officials standing by: " There 
he is." I looked and saw the King gaily chatting 
to the Naval Officer in charge. 

I Ilillll 


I wondered whether His Majesty would like being 
photographed, therefore I carefully kept my camera 
under cover of a shelter close by. At that moment 
the King's equerry came ashore. I asked him what 
rime His Majesty was due to land. 
" Another hall an hour yet," he said, " the 
Governor of Boulogne and other French officials are 
just going aboard to be introduced." 
I arranged some wheeled railings in such a manner 
that the opening was close by my camera, thereby 
making sure that the King would pass very near me. 
The moment arrived. My camera was in position. 
Af that moment the King came down Che gangway 
--he was in Field-Marshal's uniform--followed by 
his suite, including Lord Stamfordham, Sir Derek 
Keppel, Lieutenant-Colonel Clive Wigram, and Mai or 
Thompson. I started turning as he stepped on Che 
shores of France. He gravely saluted. 
• P.assing close by he reviewed the guard of honour, 
glvlng them a word of praise as he went. I filmed 
him the whole of the rime, until he reached his car, 
bade adieux fo the many officers present, and drove 
away fo G.H.Q. 
I had made an excellent start. The landing was 
splendid. Now fo follow. The King was going to 
G.H.Q., breaking his journey fo lunch with Sir 
Douglas Haig on the way. I knew I should bave 
ample rime therefore fo get well ahead and film the 
arrival af General Headquarters. 
Arriving af G.H.Q. I took up my stand near the 
entrance to the building. The Prince of Wales and 
other officers were there. I noticed that the Prince, 
as soon as he saw me, turned and said something to a 
friend near by. He evidently remembered my two 
previous attempts to film him. 
His Majesty arrived. The Prince of Wales came 
to the salute, then His Majesty--not as a king, but 
as a Iather--embraced his son. I should have 


obiained a better view of that incident, but un- 
luckily an officer side-stepped and partly covered 
the figures from my camera. 
I obtained many scenes during the day of His 
Maj esty visiting, in company with General Sir Douglas 
Haig, various headquarter offices, where he studied 
in detail the general position of the armies. I noticed 
that Sir Douglas did hot look upon my camera very 
kindly. He was rather shy of the machine, though 
latterly he bas looked with a more sympathetic eye 
upon it. 
On the second day of thc King's visit I started out 
and proceeded to an appointed place on the main 
road, where the King's car would join us. 
The weather was very dull. It was causing me 
much conccrn, for to-day of all days I wanted to 
obtain an excellent film. 
The cars pulled up. We had about fifteen minutes 
to watt. I fixed up my camera ready to film the 
meeting with General Sir Henry Rawlinson. While 
waiting, the General came over to me and began 
chating about my work. 
"I hear," he said, " that you filmed the attack 
of the 29th Division af Beaumont Hamcl on the 
Ist July, and bave been told of the excellence of ihe 
He seemed much impressed by what I told him of 
the possibilities of the camera. 
A patrol signalled the King's arrival. His car 
drew up ; His Ma]esty alighted and heartily greeted 
the General. I filmed the scenes as they presented 
All aboard once morethe King leading--we 
started on our journey for the battlefield of Fricourt. 
Having hung about until the last second turning 
the handle, if was a rush for me to pack, and pick 
them up again. My car hOt being one of the best, 
I had great difficulty in keeping up with the party. 

The news of the King's arrival and j ourney fo 
Fricourt seemed fo have spread well ahead, for 
everywhere numbers of troops were strewn along 
the roadside, and even far behind as I was, I could 
hear the echoing cheers which resounded over hills 
and valleys for toiles around. 
Finally the cars came to a halt at an appointed 
place near the ruins of the village and once beautiful 
woods of Fricourt, well within range of the enemies' 
The spot where the King alighted was known 
as the Citadel, a German sandbag fortification of 
immense strength. 
It was arranged in the form of a circle, with 
underground tunnels and dug-outs of great depth. 
In various secions of the walls were machine-gun 
emplacements, and the whole being on the top of 
the bill, formed a most formidable obstacle to the 
advance of out troops. I may add that the bill is 
now known as " King George's Hill." 
The King and his party had already alighted when 
I arrived to set up my camera, and hurrying forward 
was very difficult work, especially as I had to 
negotiate twisted masses of enemy barbed wire 
entanglements. But eventually, after much rushing, 
and being very nearly breathless, I got ahead, and 
planted my machine on the parapet of an old 
German trench and filmed the party as they passed. 
To keep ahead after filming each incident was very 
hard work. It meant waiting here and there, 
jumping trenches, scrambling through entangle- 
ments, stumbling into shell-holes, and at times fairly 
hanging by my eyebrows to the edge of trenches, 
balancing my camera in a way that one would have 
deemed almost impossible. But I ara gratified to 
think that I managed to keep up with the King, and 
I succeeded in recording every incident of interest. 
At a point on the bill-top the King halted, and 


General  described the various movements and 
details of the attack and capture of the village, the 
King taking a very keen interest in the whole 
I continued turning the handle. I did not aIlow 
a single scene to pass. Such a thing had never been 
known before. Throughout if ail the guns, large and 
small, were crashing out, and the King could sec 
the shells bursting over the German lines quite 
The guide, who was a lieutenant in the Engineers, 
suddenly called attention fo an old German trench. 
The Prince of Wales first entered and examined from 
above the depths of an old dug-out. 
With a jump I landed on the other side of the 
trench and stickin.g the tripod legs in the mud I 
filmed the scene In which His Majesty and the 
Prince of Wales inspected the captured German 
The party halted at the entrance fo another dug- 
out. The guide entered and for some moments did 
not reappear, the K. ing and the General meanwhile 
standing and gazng down. Suddenly a voice 
echoed from the depths : 
" Will you corne down, sir ? "--this remark fo 
the King. 
His Majesty laughed, but did not avail himself of 
the invitation. 
All the party joined in the laughter, and all those 
who bave seen that picture on the screen of His 
Majesty's visit fo his troops, will recall the incident 
fo which I refer. Many of the London papers in their 
articles, referring fo the film, wondered what the 
joke was that the King so thoroughly enjoyed 
outside a German dug-out. 
The party passed on, but some difficulty was 
exp.erienced when they tried to get out of the trench 
agaln. The King was pulled out by the Prince of 


Wales, and another officer, but some members of the 
party experienced a difficulty which provided quite 
an amusing episode. 
Af rimes I had fo stop and change spools. Then 
the par±y got well ahead, and on several occasions 
His Maj esty, with his usual thoughtfulness and 
courtesy, hung back and debated on various things 
in the trenches, in order fo allow me rime to catch 
them up again. 
His Majesty passed over old mine craters, and 
stood with his deer-stalking glasses, resting against 
a tree which had been withered during the fighting, 
watching the bombardment of Pozières. He ruade 
sympathetic enquiries by the side of a lonely grave 
surmounted by a rough wooden cross, on which the 
naine and number of this hero were roughly inscribed. 
A shrapnel helmet, with a hole clean through the top, 
evidently caused by a piece of high-explosive shell, 
rested upon the mound. 
The King stooped and picked up a piece of shell 
and put if in his pocket. 
If was now rime for His Majesty's departure. 
Gathered near his car was a crowd of Tommies, 
ready fo give their King a rousing cheer as he drove 
away. I filmed the scene, and as the car vanished 
over the brow of the hill, three more were called for 
the Prince of Wales. 
Hurriedly picking up my kit I chased away airer 
them. On the way masses of Anzacs lined both sides 
of the road, and the cheers which greeted His 
Maj esty must have been heard miles away. The 
scene made a most impressive picture for me. Af 
that moment a battalion of Anzacs just out of the 
trenches af Pozières were passing. The sight was 
very wonderful, and the King saw with his own eyes 
some of his brave Colonials returning from their 
triumph, covered with clay, looking dog-tired but 


His Majesty was now going fo view some ruins 
near the front, but unfortunately, owing to burst 
tyres, I could not keep up with the party, and by the 
time I got on the move again it vould bave been 
impossible for me to reach the place in time to film 
this scene. Therefore, knowing that he was due at 
No. 18 C.C.S. or " Casualty Clearing Station," I 
made hurried tracks for it. A most interesting 
picture promised fo result. 
I arrived at the C.C.S. and was met by the C.O. 
in charge. 
"Hullo, Malins," he said, "still about ? Always 
on the go, eh ? The last scenes you took here came 
out well. I saw them in London on the R.A.M.C. 
film. What do you want now ? " 
" Well, sir," I said, " I am chasing the King, and 
scme chase too, my word. I lost him this morning 
when my old bus broke down. But up to the present 
I bave obtained a most excellent record. Topping 
day yesterday on the battlefield of Fricourt. I 
wouldn't bave missed it for anything." 
Half an hour later the royal car drew up. The 
King and the Prince of Wales alighted, and were 
conducted around the hospital by the C.O. 
I did not miss a single opportunity of filming, from 
His Mai esty's talk to some wounded officers, to his 
strolling through the long lines of hospital tents and 
entering them each in turn. Ai one point my 
camera was so close to the path along which the 
King passed, that the Prince of Wales, evidently 
determined not fo run into my range again, quickly 
slipped away and crossed higher up between the 
other tents. An officer standing by me remarked 
with a laugh, " The Prince doesn't seem fo like you." 
A touching incident took place when the King was 
on the point of leaving. He stooped down and 
tenderly picked up a small puppy, and gently 
caressed and kissed it, then handed it back to the 

Colonel. This scene appears in the film, and 
illustrates His Maj esty's affection for dumb animals. 
I had just finished turning, when an officer came 
up to me and said in a low tone : " That's funny." 
" What's funny ? " I asked. 
" Why that incident. Do you know that dog only 
came in here yesterday, and he bas done so much 
mischief through playing about, that at last the C.O. 
determined to get rid of him. But we won't now. 
I shall put a red, white, and blue ribbon round his 
neck and call him George. He shall be the hospital's 
Beiore I had rime to reply His Mai esty prepared 
fo leave, so running with my camera I planted if in 
the middle of the road and filmed his departure, amid 
the cheers of the officers and men of the hospital. 



An Historic Gathering--In which King and President, Joffre and 
Haig Takc Part--His Maiesty and the Little French Grl--I Ara 
Permitted to Film the King and His Distinguished Guests--A 
Visit to the King of the Belgians--A Cross-Channel Journey-- 
And Home. 

I HEARD that night that the King was going 
to meet M. Poincaré, the French President, at 
the bouse of Sir Douglas Haig, and very 
possibly General Joffre might be there, as well. 
In the mornin gE there was an excellent liŒEht, the 
sun was blazing ; and at 9 a.m. sharp we started off, 
the royal car leading. By cutting across country 
I was able to save a considerable distance as I wished 
to get there first, in order to film the arrival. 
The château was a ±ypical French one, no± very 
large, but situated in a charming spot, seemingly 
toiles away from such a thing as war. Everything 
was as peaceful indeed as if we were at home in the 
midst of the beautiful Surrey Hills. 
Yet in this scene of profound peace ±he rulers of 
England and France, with the leading Generals, were 
meeting ±o discuss the future policy of the greatest 
and most bloody war of all rime. 
I took my stand on a grass patch in a position that 
commanded views of bo±h the main gares and the 
entrance to the house. Lining the drive from the 
main gares were men of Sir Douglas Haig's regiment, 
the Tth Lancers, standing ±o atten±ion, their lance 
points glistening in the sun. 

The sentries at the gates came smartly fo the 
salute as the royal car, in which were the King and 
Sir Douglas Haig, drew up. I started turning as he 
entered the gates. At that moment a little French 
girl ran out with a bunch of flowers and presented 
them to the King, who, smiling, stopped and patted 
her cheek, passed a remark to Sir Douglas, and then 
proceeded down the lines of troops, and entered the 
house, the Prince of Wales following close behind. 
Shortly afterwards a signal was given. His 
Maj esty and Sir Douglas came down the steps and 
reached the gares as the car, bringing M. Poincaré, 
the French President, and General Joffre, drew up. 
What a scene it would make. 
M. Poincaré came first, and was warmly greeted 
by the King. He was immediately followed by 
General Joffre, and an incident then occurred which 
took " Papa " Joffre unawares. For the moment he 
was perplexed. The saine little French maid ran out 
with another bunch of flowers and offered them to 
the General. 
" No, no," he said, "not for me, give them fo the 
But the child thought otherwise. She intended 
that Papa Joffre, the idol of France, should have 
them. He must bave them. But no ; the General, 
taking the child gently by the arm, led ber to where 
M. Poincaré was speaking to the King and Sir 
Douglas Haig, and drew their attention to the child. 
They all smiled, and were greatly amused by the 
incident. Then the little one gave her flowers to the 
President, who taking them, stooped and kissed her 
forehead, and the little one satisfied with her success 
ran away. 
The President, not knowing what to do with the 
flowers, looked around Ior an officer to take them to 
his car, but General Joffre, anticipating the desire, 
called up his A.D.C who took them away. The party 


then moved into the house. General Foch also 
entered with the Prince of VTales. 
After the lunch and conference, word was sent in 
fo Colonel Wigram who endeavoured fo persuade 
the King and M. Poincaré fo pose for a short scene on 
the balcony. Word came back that they would 
do so. 
To fix my camera up on the balcony was the work 
of only a few seconds. 
The King came out through the French window, 
followed by M. Poincaré. They were both smiling 
and seemed fo be very interested in the coming 
" Where do we go ? " said the King. 
"Would your Majesty stand over there ? " I said, 
pointing to one end of the retrace. They stood there 
side by side, King and President laughing and 
chatting. \Vhile I turned on them, General Joffre 
came out. 
" Corne along, Joffre, you stand here," said His 
Maj esty, " and you there," he said laughingly to 
General Foch. Sir Douglas Haig then came out and 
stood at the end of the line. 
For fully a minute they stood there, making a 
scene, the like of which I had never dreamed. 
King, and President, and Generals, who held in 
their hands the destiny of the world. I continued 
turning, until His Majesty, thinking I had enough, 
withdrew, laughing and chatting by the camera, 
followed by General Joffre, Sir Douglas Haig, and 
General Foch. 
By this rime my spool had run out, so quicMy 
changing I got round fo the front of he house fo 
film the royal pary leaving. 
Affer hey had al1 gone, I heard that Mr. Lloyd 
George was on his way up from Paris. How lae he 
was, one Offlcer was saylng: " VTe expected him 
before this." Hearing that I decided o wait. About 


half an hour later, up he came in a great hurry, and 
I just managed to film him as he left his car and 
entered the building. 
To-day was Sunday. His Majesty attended 
Divine Service with some of the troops stationed 
near by, in a small country church perched high up 
on the hill-side. Quiet and contentment pervaded 
everything ; not even the sound of a gun was heard. 
A visit to His Majesty, King Albert of Belgium, 
was the next item on the programme. 
The King and Prince of Wales and their suite 
entered their respective cars and, amidst the cheers 
of the civilian populace, we left the village on the 
bill. The red and gold of the little Royal Standard 
on the King's car glittered bright in the morning sun. 
Away we went. How my old "bus" did go; 
every ounce was being obtained from it ; she fairly 
rocked and roared on the tails of the high-power 
machines ahead. I knew the road only too well; 
many a rime in the early part of the war had I 
traversed it, and passed through these self-same 
On we tore fo where, in an unostentatious little 
villa, lived the King and Queen of the Belgians. 
By the rime I arrived King George had alighted, 
and the Belgian Guard of Honour was playing the 
national hymn. I hurried through the villa gares, 
ignoring the guards stationed there who tried to 
hinder me. I wanted to film the meeting. But I 
was too late, for by the time I had my machine on the 
stand the two Kings had passed along the line of 
troops, crossed the sand-dunes and entered the villa. 
I had unfortunately missed the meeting by a few 
minutes, but I vowed I wouldn't move far away from 
them during the afternoon. I heard that after lunch 
King G.eorge, assisted by Prince Alexander of Teck, 
was golng fo award decorations and medals to 
Belgian officers, and during the afternoon I obtainea 


many good scenes. The Queen was there, and with 
her the two Princes and little Princess Josephine. 
They were all most interested in the proceedings. 
I filmed the King visiting a 6-inch Howitzer 
Battery. I noticed specially how keen he was in 
enquiring about every litfie detail. Nota single 
thing seemed fo miss his eye, from the close examina- 
tion of the gun's breech, fo inspecting the dug-outs 
of the men. He then left, and knowing he was going 
fo inspect the Canadians I hurried off in order fo get 
there ahead. 
When I arrived the Canadian Generals and staff 
were thcre waiting. Here I met many old friends 
of the St. Eloi battle and, curiously enough, if was 
af this very spot hat I filmed le scene of the 
Northumberland Fusiliers, or Fighting Fifth, re- 
turning from battle, fagged out, but happy. 
General Burstall was there, and as soon as he saw 
me he came up and said : 
" Hullo, Malins, you here ? Why I thought you 
would have been killed long ago." 
" No, sir," I said, " I don't think I am much of a 
corpse, though really Brother Fritz has tried very 
hard fo send me West." 
" You must have a charmed liIe," he said. " Have 
you corne fo film our show ? " 
" Yes," I replied. "The King will be along 
shortly. Ah ! here he cornes now." 
And down the road, stretching away in the 
distance, a line of cars came tearing along in our 
direction. Everybody came fo attention. I got 
ready my camera. The King drew up, and from 
that moment, until he passed through the camp, 
lined with thousands of cheering Canadians, I filmed 
his every movement. 
The rive days' continuous rush and tear was 
beginning fo tell on me. I was feeling Iagged out. 
But to-morrow His Majesty was sailing again for 


BEIA;I I." bl 

England. That night, through a member of the 
Headquarter Staff, I enquired of Colonel Wigram 
if if was at all possible for me to accompany the 
King on his boat across the Channel. It would make 
a most excellent finish to my film, I pleaded, and it 
would show the people at home and neutrals that 
the British Navy still held the seas secure, and that 
our King could go on the seas where and when he 
liked, and to film His Maj esty on board, among his 
naval officers, what a splendid record to hand down 
fo posterity. 
Colonel Wigram immediately saw the possi- 
bilities of such a finish, and agreed to allow me to 
accompany them. 
Very jubilant, I thanked him and promised tobe 
at the boat by inidday. 
In my hurry and anxiety fo obtain permission I 
had entirely forgotten fo enquire at which port the 
boat was sailing from--Calais or Boulogne. I rushed 
back fo find Colonel Wigram, but unluckily he had 
gone. I enquired of the Intelligence officers present, 
but they did not know. 
I therefore decided that the only thing fo do was 
fo start off early in the morning and go fo Boulogne, 
and then on fo Calais, if the boat was leaving from 
Early next morning, with my kit, I rushed away 
fo Boulogne, but on my arrival I round out that the 
King was not leaving from there, but from Calais. 
Off to Calais I went. How the rime was going. Ill 
luck seemed to dog me on the journey, for with a 
loud noise the back tyre burst. To take if off and 
replace if with a new one was done in record rime. 
Then on again. How the old " bus " seemed to 
limp along. 
" How many toiles is she doing ? " I asked the 
" Nearly fifty fo the hour, sir, can't get another 


ounce out of ber. I shouldn't be surprised if the 
engine fell out." 
" Never mind, let ber bave it," I yelled. 
Down the hills she rocked and swayed like a 
drunken thing. If there had happened to be any- 
thing in the way--well, I don't know what would 
have happened ; but there would have been " some" 
mess ! Anyway, nothing did happen, and I arrived 
at the dock in due course. No, the boat had not 
gone, but by the appearance of every one there, it 
was just on the point of moving off. To get on to the 
quay I had to pass over a swing bridge; a barrier 
was across it, and soldiers on duty were posted in 
order to send all cars round, some distance down, 
over the next bridge. Knowing that if I went there 
I should be too late, I yelled out to the man fo allow 
me to pass. 
"No, sir," he said. "You must go the other way." 
Well, what I said I don't know, but I certainly 
swore, and this evidently impressed the fellow so 
much that he removed the barrier and allowed me 
fo pass. I literally tumbled out of the old " bus," 
and shouting to L- fo bring along my tripod, 
I rushed to where the boat was lying against the 
All the French, British, and Belgian officials were 
lined up, and the King was shaking hands as a 
parting adieu. Whether it was right or not I did not 
stop fo think. I swept by and rushed up the gang- 
way as the King tumed with a final salure. 
So close a shave was it that I barely had rime to 
screw my camera on the stand ere the Prince of 
Wales saluted the King and went ashore. The gang- 
way was drawn away and, amid salures from the 
officers and allied representatives, the boat left the 
quay. I had filmed it all. Not an incident had 
passed me. 
The King with the Admiral in charge of the ship, 


entered the cabin, and only then did I have a 
moment's respire to realise what a narrow squeak 
I had had. 
We were just leaving the harbour. The sea looked 
very choppy, and just ahead were seven torpedo 
boats waiting to escort us across. 
I went up on fo the top deck, and obtained sonne 
very interesting scenes of these boats taking up their 
positions around. Then the King canne up and 
mounted the bridge. How happy he looked! 
A King in every sense of the word. Who, if they 
could see him now, could ever have any doubts as to 
the issue of the war ? I filmed him as he stood on 
the bridge. In nnid-channel the sea was getting 
rather rough, and to keep nny feet, and at the sanne 
rime prevent the cannera from being bowled over- 
board, was rather a task, and this connpelled nne at 
firmes to call in the help of sonne blue-jackets stand- 
ing near by. 
At last the white cliffs of old England hove in 
sight, and to rnake rny filrn-story cornplete I filrned 
the cliffs, with Dover Castle perched high above like 
the grinn watch-dog itis. 
And then, as the boat drew into the harbour, I got 
near the gangway in order fo land first and filnn His 
Majesty as he canne ashore. I nnanaged to do this, 
and entering the royal special (by which I was 
pernnitted to travel) I reached Victoria in due course 
with what, in nny hunnble judgnnent, was one of the 
finest kinennatograph records that could possibly be 
obtained of an altogether rnernorable and historic 



Something in the Wind--An Urgent Message fo Report at Head- 
quarters--And What Came Of It--I Hear or the First Time 
o the " Hush ! Hush ! "--And Try to Discover What It Is-- 
A Wondcrul Night Scene--Dawn Breaks and Rcveals a 
Marvellous Monster--What Is It ? 

I HAD been busy in London preparing the film 
of the King's visit to his troops m France, 
when I received an urgent message to report 
immediately at General Headquarters--most im- 
portant. I reported to Captain  
" Can you get away in the morning, Malins ? The 
boat train leaves early." 
" If there is something doing I wouldn't miss it 
for worlds ! " I replied. 
" It's quite evident there is," he said, " or they 
wouldn't want you so urgently." 
" l've only got to get my supply of film stock," I 
said ; " l'll manage it during the night somehow, and 
meet you at Charing Cross in the morning." 
INo, I certainly was not going to miss a fight, for 
undoubtedly another offensive was about fo take 
That night I managed to get sufficient film stock 
together. In the morning we proceeded to France. 
The following morning at General Headquarters I 
got the news. Reporting to Colonel , he told 
me of the coming attack. " Do you want to get it ? " 
he said. 
" Yes, sir, I do ; and from the first line if possible. 


THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 223 
I want to improve on the Battle of the Somme film. 
What rime does if corne off ? " 
"I don't know; but if you will call on--men- 
tioning a captain at the Headquarters of one of the 
corps--he will be able to put you right on the 
section of the attack." With that information I 
left, and packing my apparatus left for Headquarters. 
The captain was there. 
" You are the 'movie' man, eh ? Corne in. 
Now tell me what you want." 
" Where is the attack taking place, and af what 
rime ? " I asked. 
" Look here," he said, unfolding a map, " this is 
out objective," pointing to a certain place. " We 
are going to get up fo the yellow line, and I suggest 
that you go 4o  Brigade Headquarters. They 
are in a wood just below  Redoubt. I will ring 
up the General and tell him you are coming. He 
will give you all the information and assistance you 
reqmre. They know the ground more intimately 
than we do back here. You are prepared to stay 
up there, of course ? " 
" Of course," I said. " I always carry my blanket 
wffh me." 
" Well it cornes off on the fifteenth, rather early 
in the morning. The General will give you zero 
" Do you know the exact time ? " I said. " Do 
you think it will be too early for me---so far as the 
light is concerned ? " I added hurriedly, with a 
" Well no. I think you will just manage if," he 
Thanking him I hurried off fo Brigade Head- 
quarters. They were in an old German dug-out of 
huge dimensions. There were three distinct floors 
or rather corridors, one above the other. The 
galleries wound in and around the hillside, and the 

bottom one must have been at the depth of eighty 
feet. Scottish troops were in 4he trenches, which 
were being held as support lines. I entered the 
dug-out, and around a long table was seated the 
General and his staff. 
" General , sir ? " I enquired. 
" Yes," he said; "corne in, will you ? You are 
' Movies,' aren't you ? They have jus4 rung me up. 
Have some lunch and tell me what you want." 
Dtring lunch I explained my mission. 
" Well," he said, " I am glad you are giving us a 
show. There is no need to tell you what the Scottish 
bat4alion have accomplished." 
Lunch finished, he General with he Brigadier- 
Major went into details as to the best position from 
which I could see the show. 
" I want, if possible, 4o get an unobstructed view 
of 4he Brigade front." 
"'  Trench,' is 4he place," he said. " A'hat 
do you say ? you know it." 
" I think, sir, tha4's as good as anywhere, but it's 
strafed rather badly." 
" How far is tha4 from the Bosche fron4 line ? " 
We measured it on 4he map. I4 was eight hundred 
" Too far off; I mus4 get much closer," I said. 
" Isn't there a place in our fron4 4rench ? " 
" There's a machine-gun position in a sap head," 
said an officer. " I am sure that would sui4 you, but 
you'll get strafed. Bosche cannot fail 4o see you." 
" Wha4 time is zero hour ? " I asked the General. 
" At 6.2o," he said. 
Great Scott, I though4, 6.20 summer timereal 
time 5.20, and in Sep4ember only one chance in a 
million that the sky would be clear enough 4o get 
an exposure. Certainly if the mornings were any- 
4hing like they had been during the last week it 
would be an absolu4e impossibili4y. 



THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 225 
Anyway there was just a chance, and I decided 
fo take it. 
Therefore I suggested that I should go up very 
early in the morning fo out front line, getting there 
about four o'clock. There would just be sufficient 
light for me fo have a look round, that is if Brother 
Fritz wasn't too inquisitive. I could then fix up 
the camera and wait. 
" What time does the barrage start ? " I asked. 
" Ten minutes fo zero. It's going tobe very 
intense, I can tell you that." 
" Well, sir, there is one special point I would like 
you to clear up for me if possible. What the deuce 
is the ' Hush ! Hush !' ? " 
Af that question every one in the place laughed. 
"Hush! hush! not so loud," one said, with mock 
gravity. " You mean the Tanks." 
"I ara just as wise as ever. Anyway, whether 
they are called the 'Hush Hushers' or 'Tanks,' 
what the dickens are they ? Every one bas been 
asking me if I bave seen the ' Hush ! hush !' until I 
have felt compelled fo advise them o take more 
water with if in future. At first I thought they were 
suffering from a unique form of shell-shock." 
" I haven't seen them," he said. "All I know is 
that we have two of them going over with out boys. 
This is their line; they will make straight for the 
left-hand corner of the village, and cross the trenches 
on your left about two hundred yards from the 
point suggested. They are a sort of armoured car 
arrangement and shells literally glance off them. 
They will cross trenches, no marrer how wide, crawl 
in and out shell-holes, and through barbed wire, 
push down trees and " 
I turned fo the General. " I certainly suggest, sir, 
that  should go to hospital ; the war is getting 
on his nerves. He will tell me next that they can 
fly as well." 


The General laughed. But quite seriously he told 
me if was all true. 
" Then I hope I shall be able fo get a good film of 
them," I said, " especially as this will be the first 
rime ihey bave been used. " 
Finally it was agreed that , who was going up 
to the front line fo observe for the division, should 
act as my guide, and take me up in the morning af 
three o'clock. 
" We shall have fo start about that rime," he 
said; " it will be possible fo go there for quite a 
good distance over the top of the ridge. If will 
save trudging through'-- Trench,' and there's 
sure fo be a lot of troops packed in it. In any 
case it will take us about three-quarters of an 
" And [ want at least au hour fo look round and 
find a suitable spot; so three o'clock will suit me 
very well." 
" Hullo ! " I said, as I beard tbe crack of a 59 
crump burst iust outside the dug-out. "Can't ]3osche 
let you alone here ? " 
" No," he said, " he strafes us sometimes. He 
put quite a lot in here the other day, and one went 
clean through out cook-house, but no damage was 
done, beyond spoiling out lunch. If he anticipates 
our show in the morning, he will be sure to plaster 
Af night I watched the effect of the flashes flore 
our guns. They were rattling off at quite a good 
pace. Wbat a gorgeous nigbt! Dotted all round 
this skeleton of wbat was once a wood, but now 
merely a few sticks of charred tree trunks, and in 
and out as far as the eye could see, were scores of 
tiny rires. The flames danced up and down like 
elves, and crowded round tbe rires were groups of 
our boys, laughing and chatting as if there was no 
such thing as war. Now and then the flash of tbe 

THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 227 
big howitzers momentarily lighted up the whole 
landscape. What a scene! 
Having seen as much of the war as I bave done, 
and having been practically through the campaign 
from the very outset, it may surprise you that I 
had not used myself to such sights. .Possibly I 
ought to have done, but the fact remalns that I 
cannot. These night scenes always appeal to me. 
Every scene is so different, and looking at every- 
thing from the pictorial point of view I wished with 
all my heart I could have filmed such a wonderful 
scene. But even had I been able to do so I could 
not have reproduced the atmosphere, the sound of 
the guns, the burst of the shells, the glare of the 
star-shells, the laughter of the menuand some of 
them were swearing. The impenetrable blackness 
was accentuated by the dancing flames from the 
rires. It was a sight to dream about; and almost 
involuntarily reminded one of a scene from the 
Araban Nghts. 
It was now midnight. My guide told me to follow 
him. " We'll go down below and find a place in 
which to snatch a little sleep." Down a long flight 
of stairs we went, along corridors, then down another 
flight and round more corridors. The passages 
seemed endless, until af last we came to a halt 
beside the bunk-like beds fastened on the wall. 
" What an extraordinary place ; hov deep is it ? " 
" About sixty feet," said my companion. " The 
place is like a rabbit warren." 
" Well, I'm glad you are with me, for I should 
never find my way out alone." And I rolled my 
blanket round me and went to sleep. 
I was awakened by my guide. " Corne on," he 
said ; " time we moved off." 
I quickly got out of my blanket. Jove, how cold 
it was! My teeth chattered like castanets. 
" It's like an ice-house down here; let's go out 


and see if any of the men bave any tire left. Might 
be able fo bave a little hot tea before we go. I 
bave some biscuits and odds and ends in my satchel." 
" Will you let me bave a man to help me with 
Iny tripod ? " 
" Certainly, as a marrer of fact I arranged for one 
last night." 
Up we went. Along the corridors men were lying 
about in their blankets, fast asleep. Holding a 
piece of guttering candle in my hand, and shaking 
like a leaf with cold, I stepped between the sleeping 
men ; but it was anything but an easy task. 
During the journey I missed my companion. By 
a lucky accident I managed to find an exit, but it 
was nowhere near the one I entered last night. Ah, 
here's a tire, and quickly getting the water on the 
boil, made some tea ; then shouldering the camera, 
and  helping me, by taking one of the cases, we 
started off. 
If was still ery dark, but the sky was quite free 
from clouds. If only it would keep like that I might 
just ge an exposure. 
We proceeded as fast as the innumerable shell- 
holes and old barbed wire would allow, and ruade 
straight for the ruins of , then crossing the road 
we followed the communication trenches along the 
It was still pitch dark. I looked at my watch. 
It was 4.30. 
I'he trenches were full of life. Men were pouring 
in fo take up their positions. Bosche put a few 
shells over near by, but fortunately nobody was 
touched. He was evidently nervous about some- 
thing, for on several occasions he sent up star-shells, 
in batches of six, which lighted up the whole ridge 
like day, and until they were down again I stood 
stock still. 
Day was breaking in the east. A low-lying mist 



THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 229 
hung over the village. I hoped if would hot affect 
my taking. 
We were now in the trenches, and daylight was 
gradually beginning fo appear. 
" It's got fo light up a lot more if I'm going to 
be able to film," I said. " But thank heaven the 
sky is cloudless. That's the one chance." 
All af once if seemed as though the sky lightened. 
Actinic conditions improved considerably, and I 
was just congratulating myself on my good fortune 
" What's that, sir ? " said the man af my side, 
who had been peering through a periscope. 
Gingerly I raised myself above the parapet and 
peered in the direction in which his finger pointed. 
For a moment I could discern nothing. Then, 
gradually out of the early morning mist a huge, 
dark, shapeless obiect evolved. It was apparently 
about three hundred yards away. It moved, and 
judging by the subdued hum and a slight smoke 
which it emitted--like the breath of an animal--if 
lived ! 
I had never seen anything like it before. What 
was it ? 



A Weird-looking Ob]ect Makes Its First Appearance Upon the 
Battlefield--And Surprises Us Almost as Much as If Surprised 
Fritz--A Death-dealing Monster that Did the blost Marvellous 
Things--And Left the Ground Strewn wth Corpses--Realism 
of the Tank Pictures. 

W HAT in the world was if ? 
As we stood there peering af the 
thing, we forgot for the moment that 
our heads were well above the parapet. We were 
too fascinated by the movements of the weird- 
looking object to bother about such a trifle as that t 
And the Bosche trenches were only two hundred 
yards away ! For the life of me I could hot take my 
eyes off it. The thing--I really don't know how else 
fo describe it--ambled forward, vith slow, ierky, 
uncertain movements. The sight of it was weird 
enough in ail conscience. At one moment its nose 
disappeared, then with a slide and an upward glide 
it climbed fo the other side of a deep shell crater 
which lay in its path. I stood amazed and watched 
its antics. I forgot all about my camera, and my 
desire fo obtain a picture of this veird and terrifying 
engine of destruction. Like every one else, its un- 
expected appearance on the scene first surprised 
and then held me under its strange influence. 
So that was the" Hush ! hush ! "--the Juggernaut 
Car of/3attle. One of the Tanks, the secret of whose 
appearance, and indeed of whose very existence, had 
been guarded more carefully than all the treasures 
of the Indies. 



Truly Bosche was in for a big surprise. 
Al1 this time I had scarce taken my eyes off the 
ugly-looking monster. It waddled, if ambled, it 
jolted, it rolled, it--well it did everything in turn 
and nothing long--or wrong. And most remarkable 
of all, this weird-looking creature with a metal bide 
performed tricks which ahnost ruade one doubt 


the evidence of one's senses. Big, and ugly, and 
awkward as it was, clumsy as its movements appeared 
to be, the thing seemed imbued with life, and pos- 
sessed of the most uncanny sort of intelligence and 
understanding. It came to a crater. Down went 
its nose; a slight dip, and a clinging, crawling 
motion, and it came up merrily on the other side. 
And all the rime as it slowly advanced, it breathed 
and belched forth tongues of flame; its nostrils 



seemed to breathe death and destruction, and the 
Huns, terrified by its appearance, were mown down 
like corn falling to the reaper's sickle. 
Presently it stoppe& The humming ceased. The 
spell was broken. We looked at one another, and 
then we laughed. How we laughed! Officers and 
men were doubled up with mirth as they watched 
the acrobatic antics of this mechanical marvel--this 
Wellsian wonder. 
Now the metal monster was on the move again. 
It was advancing on the German position. The 
Bosche machine-guns got busy and poured a very 
hail of shells and bullets upon the oncoming death- 
dealcr. It made no difference. The Tank pursued 
its way, unpcrturbed by all the racket of the ex- 
ploding metal on its sides. Shells seemed to glide 
off it quite harmlessly. Bullets had no effect upon 
this extraordinary apparition. 
Fritz must have thought the devil himself had 
broken loose from hell and was advancing to de- 
vour him. The Huns scurried to their funk-holes 
and craters, their hiding-places, and their trenches 
like so many rabbits. Still the Tank advanced, 
pausing now and then, astride a particularly wide 
crater, and sweeping the surrounding pit-scarred 
ground with its machine-guns. Up popped a 
German head. Zip went a bullet ; and down went 
the head for the last rime. How many Germans 
were crushed in their holes in that first advance 
goodness only knows. 
Presently the monster stopped again. There was 
a pause. Nothing happened. A minutetwo 
minutes went by. Still nothing happened. The 
Germans began to regain their courage. Heads 
popped up all over ttae place. Enemy troops began 
to edge nearer and nearer to it, in spire of the bail 
of bullets from our trenches. Then they began to 
swarm round the strange creature the like of which 

they had never seen before. To do them justice, 
these Germans showed exceptional courage in the 
face of unknown and altogether exceptional danger. 
Mr. Tank meanwhile was not a bit disconcered by 
their attentions, and continued to breathe forth 
flames of tire, which did great havoc in the ranks of 
the sightseers. But once their curiosity was satisfied 
the Huns did their level best to damage the brute. 
They fired at it ; they bombarded it ; they shelled 
it; they clambered over it. All to no purpose. 
Presently that ominous humming, snorting sound 
reached us again, and the monster began to move 
away. Where it had stood the ground was strewn 
with the dead bodies of German soldiers, and I was 
told afterwards that over three hundred corpses 
were counted to the credit of the first Tank that 
ever crossed " No Man's Land." 
Meanwhile our boys had been busy. Following 
in the wake of the Tank, they had cleaned up quite 
a lot of ground, and all the rime, with my camera 
on them, I had secured a series of fine pictures. 
I don't think I ever laughed so heartily at anything 
as I did on the first day that I saw the Tanks in 
action, and officers and men all agree that they never 
saw a Iunnier sight in all their lives. But whilst 
they amused us they put the fear of the devil into 
Fritz, and whole parties of men ran forward, hands 
up, waving their handkerchiefs, and shouting " Kam- 
erad," and gave themselves up as willing prisoners 
in our hands. 
The Tanks bave been one of the big surprises and 
big successes of the war. 



An Axvful Specimen of War Devastation--lreparing for an Advance 
--Giving the ]3osche " Jumps"--13reakfast Under Fire--My 
Camcra Fails Me Just Beiore the Opening of the Attack--lBut I 
Manage to Set if Right and Get Some Fine Pictures--Our Guns 
" Talk " Like the Crack of a Thousand ThundersA Wonderful 

FTER 'the battle of Martinpuich the nature 
of my work brought me in contact with 
many stirring incidents, which, if put on 
record here, would be merely repeating 4o a certain 
degree many of my previous experiences, therefore 
I do not intend 4o bore my readers by doing so. 
From one section of out front to the other I was 
kept continually on the more. On the 25th Septem- 
ber an attack was timed for twelve o'clock noon for 
Morval and Lesboeufs, and the Guards, London 
Scottish, Norfolks, Suffolks and many other regi- 
ments were to take part. The day before I visited 
out front in that section to obtain preliminary scenes. 
The London Scottish were preparing to leave to take 
up their batfle positions. From one front to the 
other I hurried, obtaining scenes of the other regi- 
ments on ŒEhe way up. I stayed during ŒEhe night 
with an oflïcer of an I8-pounder battling on the 
left of Guillemont. The Bosche was "strafing" the 
place pretty badly. I will not say I slept comfort- 
ably, for shells came crashing over much too closely 
4o do so ; in fact, I was up all night. 
On several occasions I r.eally thought my last 
minute had corne. The noise was deafening, the 


glare and flash although beautiful was sickening. 
Our guns were pouring out a withering tire, and the 
ground quivered and shook, threatening fo tumble 
the temporary shelter about my ears. One shell, 
which came very near, burst and the concussion 
slightly blew in the side of the shelter ; if also seemed 
fo momentarily stun me ; I crouched down as close 
fo earth as possible. I will adroit that I felt a bit 
" windy," my body was shaking as if with ague; 
a horrible bu.zzing sensation was in my head, dizzi- 
ness was comlng over me. I dare not lose control of 
myself, I thought ; with an effort I staggered up and 
out of the shelter, clutching my head as the pain was 
terrible. I dropped down into an old German trench 
and sat in the bottom. In a few minutes my head 
pains eased down slightly, but my nerves were still 
shaky. Af that moment one of the battery officers 
came along. 
" Hullo ! you got clear then ? " he said. 
" Yes, only just, by the appearance of things." 
"I saw if drop near by where we left you and 
felt quite certain it had done you in. Feel all 
right ? " 
" Yes," I said, " with the exception of a thick 
head. I will get my camera stuff down here. Lend 
me your torch, will you ? " 
I took if out and found my way back to the 
Fritz was now jumping over shrapnel, so, believe 
me, I did not hang about on my journey. Out guns 
continued their thundering and tire was literally 
pouring from their mouths. I got down in the 
trench, as close as possible, sat on my camera-case 
and so passed the remainder of the night, thinking-- 
well, many things. 
Towards dawn the firing gradually died down 
until, comparing if with the night, if was quite 
peaceful. I got out of my trench and sat up on the 

parapet. My head was still throbbing from the con- 
cussion of the night, and having no sleep made me 
feel in rather a rotten state. 
" How's the head, old chap ? " asked an officer I 
knew who came up to me at that moment. 
" Better," I replied, " but needs improvement." 
"We are just making some tea; corne and 
join us.'" 
" Jove, rather ! It may stop this jumping." 
A slight mist was hanging over the shell-pocked 
ground, if was gradually rising, as I had seen it on 
previous occasions, and the horrible stench from the 
putrifying dead seemed fo rise with it. As far as the 
eye could sec in every direction the ground had been 
churned up by the fearful shell-fire. The shell-holes 
met each other like the holes in a sponge. Not a 
blade of grass or green stuff existed; the place 
which once marked a wood was now a space with a 
twisted, tangled mass of barbed wire and, here and 
there, short wooden stumps, slashed, split, and torn 
into stlreds--the remains of once beautiful trees. 
The village of Guillemont literally does not exist, 
in fact, it is an absolz«te impossibility to tell where the 
fields ended and the village began. It is one of the 
most awful specimens of the devastating track of 
war that exists on the Western Front. The village 
had been turned by the Bosche into a veritable 
fortress ; trenches and strong points, bristling with 
machine-guns, commanded every point which gave 
vantage to the enemy. But, after much bloody 
fighting, out troops stormed and captured the place 
and the German losses must have been appalling. 
Many had been buried, but the work of consolidating 
the ground won and pressing on the attack does not 
permit out men thoroughly fo cleanse the square 
toiles of ground and bury the bodies and fragments 
that cover it. 
Unknowingly, when I had hurried for cover in the 

trench, the night before I had been within twelve 
feet of a party of rive dead Bosches, and the atmo- 
sphere in the early morning was more than I could 
tolerate, so picking up my camera, etc., I took up 
fresh quarters. 
A snorting, crunching sound struck my ears and 
looking on my left I observed a Tank ambling 
forward to take up ifs position for the coming show. 
It was emitting clouds of bluish-grey smoke from 
its exhaust which gave it a rather ghostly appear- 
ance in the mist.. Now and again as it came to 
a very deep shell-hole it stopped to poise itself on 
the rira and then genfiy fipped ifs nose downwards, 
disappearing, to rise like a huge toad on the other 
side, and then continue its j ourney. 
More troops were coming up in platoon to take 
up their position in supports, ammunition carriers 
were taking up fresh supplies of bombs, Red Cross 
men were making their way forward--not a sound 
was to be heard from them and the whole place was 
now a line of silent movement. All the main work 
and preparation was to finish before the last shadow 
of night had been chased away by the light of the 
rising sun, before the setting of which many of the 
boys would lay down their lives that justice and 
civilisation might triumph over the false doctrine of 
blood and iron and barbarism--German Kultur. 

" Corne along, Malins, your cup of tea is ready," 
shouted an officer. 
I left my camera under cover of a fallen tree trunk 
and crossed to a covered shell-hole which answered 
to the naine of dug-out. Anyway, apart from 
shrapnel or a direct hit from an H.E., we were com- 
paratively safe, being below ground level. Along 
the centre was a rough plank on two boxes and 
grouped either side were several other officers of the 
battery. We all of us soon forgot about the previous 

night's efforts of Fritz in a gorgeous repast of bacon, 
fried bread, and tea. 
Bosche was now fairly quiet ; he was "strafing" 
the ridge in front with an occasional H.E. ; some of 
our batteries on my right were still af it. It was now 
quite daylight ; our aeroplanes were flitting across 
the sky, diving low to obtain better observation of 
the enemy, and incidentally getting "strafed" by his 
anti-aircraft guns which did not interest them in the 
" What rime is zero-hour ? " I asked. 
" Twelve-thirty," was the reply. " We start our 
intense at twelve o'clock, every gun we have in this 
section is going to fairly give Bosche j umps; in 
fact he will have fo find a ' better 'ole.' " 
This remark caused considerable laughter. 
"I am going to get my scenes from 'Ginchy 
Telegraph ' ; it seems a very likely spot by the map. 
Shall I get there about eleven o'clock and fix up ? " 
" Good," said one. " I will lend you an orderly fo 
act as guide if it's any benefit fo 3,ou." 
Thanking him, I gladly accepted the offer. 
Breakfast over, I collected my apparatus and 
stood to watch the sections which Fritz " strafed " 
the most. By practising this method if bas made it 
possi .ble for me to do my work in comfort on previous 
occasions. I noticed there were one or two points 
which he "strafed" methodically, therefore I 
judged if safe fo make direct for my point over the 
top, then enter a communication trench just on this 
side of the ridge. 
By this time my guide came up, so sharing my 
apparatus, we started off. The distance fo Ginchy 
Telegraph was about one kilometre. Shrapnel was 
playing upon both roads leading from Guillemont, 
H.E. was bursting on my right in Lueze Wood, or 
" Lousy Wood," as it is called here, also in Delville 
Wood on my left. Airer a very tiring tramp over 

shell-holes and rubble I eventually reached my 
post. From this point I could see practically the 
whole of our section between Lesboeufs and Morval, 
but I immediately found out fo my annoyance that 
the slight breeze would bring nll the smoke back 
towards our lines. The resulting effect would not be 
serious enough fo in any way hinder our operations, 
but photographically it was disastrous, and even if 
phoXographed the effect would not be impressive in 
the slightest degree, merely a wall of smoke which 
to the public would appear unintelligible. But in that 
seemingly useless cloud were falling thousands of 
shells of all calibres, tearing the earth into dust, the 
German line into fragmenŒEs, forming a living and 
death-dealing curtain of blazing steel behind which 
our men were advancing. 
But adverse wind conditions were not all, for 
when I had taken the camera ouX of ifs case I found 
that by some means or other Xhe lens mounŒEs had 
received such a knock as fo throw if out of alignment. 
How if happened I cannot think, for Xhe case was 
intact, the only possible explanation being that I 
musX have dropped if the night before when I took 
shelter in the trench and in my dazed condffion did 
noX remember doing so. 
It was quite impossible fo repair iX even tem- 
porarily in rime fo obtain the opening attack, so I 
hurried away and took shelter behind some ruins on 
the south-west side of Xhe village. If was now close 
on twelve ; our intense bombardment would shortly 
begin, and I worked feverishly at Xhe repair to the 
eamera, perspiring af every porc. 
Suddenly, like the terrific crack of a thousand 
thunders, our tire on the German position began. 
Bursting from the mouths of hundreds of British 
guns ff came, the most asXonishing, astounding, 
brain-splitting roar Xhat I had ever heard. In a few 
moments if reached a crescendo; every one near by 

was transfixed with awe. Hundreds of shells went 
shrieking overhead. The air was literally alive with 
blazing metal. 
Imagine, if you can, being in the midst of rive 
hundred drums. Ata given moment every drummer 
beats his drum with ever-increasing force without 
a fraction of a moment's respire. Add to this the 
most soul-splitting crash you have ever heard and the 
sound as of a gale of wind shrieking through the 
telegraph wires. It will give you a little idea of 
what it was like under this bombardment. It 
seemed fo numb one's very brain. What it must 
bave been like in the German position is beyond 
me fo conceive. We were certainly giving Fritz a 
At last my camera was finished. Looking in the 
direction of Bouleaux Wood I could sec our men still 
pouring forward over the open. I raced towards 
them as hard as possible and filmed them going 
across first one section then the other ; Bosche shells 
were falling near them, knocking a few out but 
missing most, first one line then the other. 
Bosche was dropping large " coal boxes" all along 
our supports. Two Tanks coming up provided me 
with several interesting scenes as Fritz was pester- 
ing them with his attentions but without injury. 
I obtained a scene of two heavy " crumps " bursting 
j ust behind one of them, but the old Tank still 
snorted on its way, the infantry advancing close 
behind in extended formation. 
Throughout the remainder of the day I was kept 
well on the move, filming the many-varying scenes 
of battle, either whilst they were in progress or 
immediately afterwards. Prisoners came pouring in 
from all directions, first a batch of two hundred and 
then odd stragglers, then further batches. The 
Guards seemed to have had a rather good bag, as I 
noticed that most of the Bosches were brought in 

under care of guardsmen. One Tommy came in the 
proud possessor of six. 
From the immediate fighting ground I ruade my 
vay towards Trones Wood, upon the outskirts of 
which the Guards had their dressing station. Many 
of our men were there, lying about in all directions 
on stretchers, waiting to be taken away fo the 
Casualty Clearing Station. I filmed many scenes 
here of our wonderful men suffering their physical 
torments like the heroes they were. One, in par- 
ticular, sitting on a box making a cigarette, had a 
broad smile on his face, though the wlole of his clbow 
was shot completdy away. Another came in, helped 
along by two other men ; he was a raving lunatic, 
his eyes ghastly and horrible to look upon, and he 
was foaming at the mouth, and gibbering wildly. 
" Shell-shock," said the doctor, close beside me; 
"bad case too, poor chap ! Here, put him into this 
ambulance; three men had better go with him to 
look after him." 
" Do you get many cases like that ? " I asked the 
" Yes," he said, " quite a few, but not all so bad as 
Wounded were still pouring in, both ours and 
German. The Bosche was shelling the ground only 
a short distance away and I managed to film several 
of our wounded men being dressed whilst shells 
vere bursting in the near background. 
Another man was brought In on a stretcher. 
I looked closely at him when he was set on the 
ground. He had been knocked out by shell-fire. 
A piece of shrapnel was buried in his jaw, another 
large piece in his head, and, by the bloodstains on 
his tunic, about his body also. 
He was groaning pitiably. The doctor bending 
down had a look at him, then stood up. 
" Ifs no use," he said, " he's beyond human aid ; 

he cannot last many minutes. Place him over 
there," he said fo the stretcher-bearers. The men 
gently lifted the poor fellow up, and less than three 
minutes afterwards one came up fo the doctor. 
" He's dead, sir." 
" Just tell the padre then, will you, and get his 
disc and name and have his belongings packed up and 
Sellt home." 
And so the day drifted on. The sun was blazing 
hot; every man there was working like a demon. 
Perspiring at every pote, each doctor was doing the 
work of four ; the padre was here, there and every- 
where, giving the wounded tea and coffee, and 
cheering them up by word and deed. 
Towards evening there came a lull in the attack. 
It had been a great success ; all our objectives had 
been gained; the wounded driIted in in lessening 
An elderly doctor in his shirt sleeves had just 
finished binding up the stump of a man's leg, the 
lower part of which had been torn away by a piece of 
shell. He stood up, mopped his forehead, and, after 
bidding the carriers take the man away, he lay on 
the ground practically exhausted, dried blood still 
upon his hands and arms and scissors held loosely in 
his fingers ; he closed his eyes to try and doze. 
" That doctor is a marvel," said an officer fo me. 
" He snatches a Iew moments sleep between his 
cases. Now watch ! " 
Another stretcher-party was coming in, and it was 
set down. An orderly went up fo the doctor and 
lightly touched him on the shoulder. 
" Another case, sir," he said. 
The doctor opened his eyes and quickly rose to 
his feet. 
The wounded man's head was bound round with an 
old handkerchief, matted with blood which had dried 
hard. Warm disinfectant was quickly brought and 

the doctor proceeded fo gently loosen the rough 
bandage from the head, revealing a nasty head 
wound, a gash about three inches long and very 
" What do you think of that ? " he said, holding 
out something in his hand fo me, " that's from this 
lad's head." 
I looked and saw that if was a piece of his shrapnel 
helmet about two inches square, if had been driven 
into the flesh on his head, fortunately without break- 
ing the skull. The wound was quickly dressed and 
the doctor again lay down fo snatch a few more 
moments' respire. 
" This will go on all night," said the padre, " and 
all day to-morrow. Flave a cup of tea at my canteen, 
will you ? " 
Having had nothing fo eat or drink all day I 
accepted the invitation. On the opposite side of the 
wood was a small shack built of old lumber, and every 
man before he left by ambulance received a cup of 
tea or coffee and biscuits. 
" I find the boys greatly appreciate if," he said. 
I j oined him in a cup of tea. 
" Don't you think it's a good idea ? " 
" Excellent," I replied, " like heaven to a lost 
" Look round here," he said, pointing away in the 
distance. "' Did you ever see such a ghastly travesty of 
nature, the whole country-side swept clean of every 
green and living thing, beautiful woods and charm- 
ing villages blown to the four winds of heaven, and 
this might bave been our own beautiful sunny downs, 
our own charming villages. The British public should 
go down on ifs knees every day of the week and thank 
God for their deliverance." 
The sun was now setting, and having obtained all 
the scenes I required, I decided fo make my way 
back. We were still shelling the German lines very 

hard, and the I3osche was putting over a few of his 
H.E. and high shrapnel, but fortunately none came 
within a hundred yards of us. 
I bade adieu to tlae doctors and the padre. 
" I hope we shall see the films in town," they said. 
" It's a pity you can't introduce the sounds and 
general atmosphere of a battle like this. Good-bye, 
best of luck ! " they shouted. 
I left tlem and ruade my way across to the battery 
fo thank tle Captain. When I arrived I met one of 
the subalterns. 
" Where's   " I asked. 
" I ara afraid you won't see him," he replied. 
" Why ? " hall suspecting some bad news. 
" Wcll, he and four ohers were killed shortly after 
you lcft." 
I turned slowly away and walked off in the 
direction of Guillemont. 
A hundred yards further on I came upon a scene 
which afforded some relief to the tragedies of the 
day. A short bantam-like British Tommy was 
cursing and swearing volubly at a burly German 
sitting on the ground i-ubbing his head and groaning 
like a bull. Tommy, with a souvenir cigar in his 
inouth, »vas telling him in his best cockney English 
to get a more on. 
" What's the inatter ? " I said. 
" Well, sir, it's like this. This 'ere cove is my own 
prisoner and 'e's been gi»-ing me no end of trouble, 
tried to pinch my gun, sir, 'e did, so I'it 'ira on 'is 
head, but 'e ain't 'urt, sir, nota bit, are yer, Fritz ? 
Corne on." And Fritz, thinking discretion the better 
part of valour, got up, and Tommy strutted off with 
his big charge as happy as a peacock. 



Inspecting a Tank that was Hors de Combat--Ail that was Left of 
Mouquet Farm--A German Underground Fortress--A Trip in 
the Bowels of the Earth--A Weird and WonderIul Experience. 

FTER our successful attack and capture of 
Lesboeufs and Morval on September 25th, 
1916, beyond consolidating our gains there 
was comparatively little done in the way of big 
offensives until the capture of Mouquet Farm and 
Thiepval and the capture of Beaumont Hamel-- 
that fortress of fortresses--on November I3th, and I 
devoted the interval to recording the ground won. 
One interesting incident occurred when I filmed 
Mouquet Farm situate between Pozières and 
Thiepval. Looking at the Farm from the strategical 
point of view, I feel quite confident in saying that 
only British troops could have taken it. It was one 
of the most wonderful defensive points that could 
possibly be conceived, and chosen by men who made 
a special study of such positions. The whole place 
was thickly planted with machine-guns, so cunningly 
concealed that it was impossible to observe them 
until one was practically at the gun's mouth. 
To get here if was necessary to go down a long 
steep glacis, then up another to the farm. The 
Germans, with their network of underground 
passages and dug-outs, were able to concentrate at 
any threatened point with their machine-guns in 
such a manner that they would have our troops 
under a continual stream of lead for quite one 


thousand yards without a vestige of cover. The farm 
had been shelled by our artillery time after rime, 
until the whole ground for toiles round was one huge 
mass of shell-craters, but the Germans, in their dug- 
outs forty and fifty feet underground, could not be 
reached by shell-fire. I will not go into details of 
how the place was eventually taken by the Midlanders 
--it will remain an epic of the war. 
The weather was now breaking up. Cold winds 
and rain continually swept over the whole Somme 
district, invariably accompanied by thick mists. 
I wanted fo obtain a film showing the fearful 
mud conditions, which we were working hard and 
fighting in and under. And such mud ! You could 
not put the dcpth in inches. Nothing so ordinary ; 
it was Ieet deep. I have known relief battalions take 
six hours to reach their allotted position in the front 
line, when, in the dr.y season, the saine journey could 
be accomplished n an hour; and the energy 
expended in wading through such a morass tan be 
imagined. Many rimes I have got stuck in the 
clayey slime well above my knees and bave required 
the assistance of two, and sometimes three men to 
help me out. To turn oneself into a lump of mud, all 
one had to do was to walk down fo the Iront line; 
you would undoubtedly be taken for a part of the 
parapet by the time you arrived. I asked a Tommy 
once what he thought of it. 
" Sir," he replied, "there ain't no blooming word 
to describe it ! " And I think he was right. 
On one journey, when filming the carrying of 
munitions by mule-back--as that was the only 
method by which our advanced field-guns could be 
supplied--while they were being loaded af a dump 
near  Wood, the mud was well above the mules' 
knees, and, in another instance, it was actually 
touching their bellies. In such conditions our men 
were fighting and winning battles, and not once did 

I hear of a single instance where it affected the morale 
of the men. We cursed and swore about if ; who 
wouldn't ? If retarded our progress ; we wallowed 
in it, we had to struggle through toiles of if nearly up 
fo our knees ; we slept in it or tried to ; we are in it, 
it even got unavoidably mixed up with our food ; and 
sometimes we drank it. And we tolerated if all, 
month after month. If it was bad for us, we knew 
it was far worse for the Bosche, for hot only had 
he to live under these conditions, but he was 
subj ected to our hellish bombardment continually 
without rest or respite. 
Thus it was I filmed Mouquet Farm and other 
scenes in the neighbourhood. I went to Pozières and 
then struck across country. On my way I passed 
a Tank which, for the rime being, was hors de 
combat. It naturally aroused my interest. I closely 
inspected it, both inside and out, and, while I 
stood regarding if, two whizz-bangs came over in 
quick succession, bursting about thirty feet away. 
The fact immediately occurred to me that the 
Tank was under observation by the Bosche and 
he, knowing the attraction if would have for 
enquiring natures, kept a gun continually trained 
upon it. I had just got behind the body of the thing 
when another shell dropped close by. I did hot stop 
to judge the exact distance. I cursed the mud 
because it did hot allow me to run fast enough, but 
really I ought to have blessed it. The fact that it 
was so muddy caused the shell to sink more deeply 
into the ground before exploding, ifs effective radius 
being also more confined. 
When I got clear of the Tank, the firing ceased. 
I mentally vowed that, for the future, temporarily 
disabled Tanks near the firing-line would hot 
interest me, unless I was sure they were under good 
I continued my journey to the farln, but kept 

well below the top of the ridge. At one section, to 
save my dying a sailor's death, duck-boards had been 
placed over the mud to facilitate easier travelling. 
It ruade me feel like going on for ever, after plough- 
ing for hours through mud the consistency of 
Eventually I arrived on the ]figh ground near 
Mouquet. Many of out field-gun batteries had 
taken up their position near by: they had turned 
old shell-holes into gun-pits--occasionaily a burst of 
firing rang out, and Bosche was doing his level 
best to find them with his 5-9 crump. Here I 
managed to obtain several very interesting scenes. 
The farm, as a farm, did not exist ; a mass of 
jumbled-up brick»vork bere and there suggested 
that once upon a rime, say ioo B.c., if might bave 
been. In due rime I reached the place. A machine- 
gun company were in possession, and I round an 
oflïcer, who offered to show me over the Bosche's 
underground fortress. I entered a dug-out entrance, 
the usual type, and switching on my electric torch, 
proceeded with uncertain steps down into the 
bo»vels of the earth. The steps were thick with mud 
and water ; water also was dripping through ai1 the 
crevices in the roof, and the offensive smell of dead 
bodies reached me. 
" Have you cleaned this place out ? " I called to 
my friend in front. 
" Yes," he said. His voice sounded very hollow in 
this noisome, cavernous shaft. And it was cold-- 
heavens how cold ! Ugh ! 
" There was one gallery section ; where it leads to 
we cannot find out, but it was blown in by us and 
evidently quite a few Bosches with it ; anyway, we 
are not going to disturb if. There is a possibility of 
the whole gallery collapsing about out ears." 
" We are at the bottom now; be careful, turn 
sharp to the left." 

" Why this place must be at least forty feet deep." 
" Yes, about that. This gallery runs along to more 
exits and a veritable rabbit warren of living compart- 
ments. See these bullet-holes in the side here," 
pointing to the wooden planks lining the gallery. 
" When our men entered the other end he Bosche 
here had a machine-gun fixed up and so they played 
it upon anybody who came near ; lit up only by the 
gun flashes it must have been a ghastly sight. It 
must have been the scene of devilish fighing judging 
by the number of bullet-holes all over the place. 
There are plenty of bloodstains about, somebody 
caught it pretty badly." 
I followed my guide until eventually we came 4o a 
recessed compartment ; it was illuminated by two 
German candles stuck in botles, and a rough 
wooden table with two chairs, evidently looted from 
the farm when the Bosche arrived. 
We ruade our exit from another shaft and came 
out ata spot about one hundred yards from the 
place we had entered. 
This will give you some idea of the way the ground 
was interlaced with subterranean passages, and this, 
mind you, was only one tunnel of many. 
It was quite pleasant to breathe comparatively 
fresh air agam after the foul atmosphere down 
Bosche was more lively with his shell-fire and they 
were coming much too near fo be pleasant. I fixed 
up my machine and filmed several very good bursts 
near some guns. He was evidently shooting blind, 
or by the map, for they dropped anywhere but near 
their objectives. Anyway it was his shoot and it was 
not up to us to correct him. 



A Choppy Cross-Channel TripI Indulge in a Reverie--And Try fo 
leer Into the Future--At Headquarters Again--Trying fo Cross 
the River Somme on an Improvised Rait--In Peronne After the 
German Evacuation--A Specimen of Hunnish "« Kultur." 

INCE I left France in December many 
changes had aken place; tremendous pre- 
parations for the next great offensive were 
in progress. We shall now see the results of all 
our liard and bloody work, which began on the 
Somme on July Ist, 1916. I think I can safely say that 
we have never relqxed out offensive for a single day. 
Granted the great pressure bas hot been kept up, 
but in proportion to the weather conditions the push 
bas been driven home relentlessly and ground won 
foot by foot, yard by yard, until, in February, 1917, 
the Germans retired behind their Bapamne defences. 
Just how far they are going back one cannot 
decide. The fact remains that the enemy is falling 
back, not for strategical reasons, as he is so anxious 
for his people and neutrals to believe, but because 
he is forced to by the superiority of out troops and 
out dominating gun-power. The beginning of the 
end is at hand, the eve of great events is here ; the 
results of this year's fighting will decide the future 
peace of the world, the triumph of Chfistianity over 
barbarity, of God over the devil. 
I received instructions to proceed again to France. 
" The capture of Bapaume is imminent, you must 
certainly obtain that," I was told, " and add another 
to your list of successes." So I left by the midday 


boat-train; the usual crowds were there to sec their 
friends off. A descriptive writer could fill a volume 
with impressions gathered on the station platform 
an hour before the train starts. Scenes of pathos and 
assumed joy; of strong men and women stifling 
their emotions with a stubbornness that would do 
justice fo the martyrdom of the Early Christians in 
the arenas of Rome. 
I arrived at Folkestone ; the wealher was very cold 
and a mist hung over the sea, blotting everything 
out of view beyond the end of the breakwater. The 
train drew up alongside and it emptied itself of its 
human khaki freight, who, with one accord, made 
their way to the waiting steamboats, painted a dull 
green-grey. All aboard: quickly and methodically 
we passed up the gangway, gi»ing up our embarka- 
tion ickets at the end and receiving another tard 
to fill up, with personal particulars, as we stepped on 
board. This card was to be given up upon one's 
arrival at Boulogne. 
Gradually the boat filled with officers and men; 
kits and cars were hoisted aboard, life-belts were 
served out ; everybody was compelled to put them 
on in case of an accident. 
Everything was aboard; the three boats were 
ready to leave ; the two in Iront, one an old cross- 
Channel paddle boat, the other one of the later 
turbine class--but still no sign of leaving. 
" What are we waiting for ? " I asked a seaman 
near by. 
" We must wait until we get permission ; the mist 
is very thick, sir--going to be a cold journey." With 
that he left. I buttoned my warm great-coat well 
round my throat, pulled my cap firmly down over 
my ears and went to the upper deck and peered out 
into the thickening sea-mist towards the harbour 
I went to the deck-rail and leaned over. Crowds 


of sea-gulls cawed and wheeled round, seemingly 
hung suspended in the air by an invisible wire. The 
gulls fascinated me ; one second they were in the air 
motionless on their huge outstretched wings, then 
suddenly, seeing either the shape of a fish coming fo 
the surface, or a crumb of bread floating, one of the 
birds would dart down, make a grab with its beak af 
he object, skim he surface of the water, then grace- 
fully wing its way upwards and join its fellows. 
I turned my gaze again seawards : the mist was 
.drawing nearer, threatening o envelop our boats 
n its embrace. How cold it was ! The upper deck 
was now full of officers, busily putting on their life- 
belts--I had secured naine to my kit-bag, ready to 
put it on when required. At that moment an ofiïcer 
came up to me. 
" Have you a lifebelt ? " he said, " if so would you 
mind putting it on ? I have to go ail round the boat 
and see that everybody has one." 
" Right," I said, and so I donned my life-belt, and 
passing along the deck stood underneath the 
Captain's bridge and gazed around. The men in the 
two boats ahead of us were singing lustily, singing 
because they were going back to the land of bursting 
shells and flying death, laughing and singing because 
they were going again out to fight for the Empire. 
As I stood there, gazing into the mist and hearing 
the continuous roar of the sea beating upon the 
rocks behind me, a review of the events passed 
through my mind which have happened to me, and 
the countless scenes of tragedy and bloodshed, of 
defeat and victory that I had witnessed since I first 
crossed over to France in October, 1914. I recalled 
my arrival in Belgium; the wonderful rearguard 
actions of the Belgian troops ; the holding up of the 
then most perfect (and devilish) fighting machine 
the world had ever known, by a handful of volunteers. 
The frightful scenes in "he great retreat through 

Belgium lived again ; the final stand along the banks 
of the Ypres canal ; the opening of the dykes, which 
saved the northern corner of France ; the countless 
incidents of fighting I had filmed. Then my three 
months wffh the French in the Vosges mountains, 
the great strain and hardships encountered to obtain 
the films, and now, affer eighteen months vih the 
British army on the Western Front, I was again 
going back--to what ? 
How many had asked themselves 
How many had tried as I was doing 
future. They had laid down their lives figMing for 
the cause of freedom. " But, although buried on an 
alien soil, that spot shall be for ever called England." 
I was quickly recalled to 
flashing of a light on the end of the harbour 
It was answered by a dull glare seawards ; every- 
body was looking in that direction ; and then 
A sudden clanging of bells, a slipping of ropes from 
the first boat, a final cheer from 
crowded decks, and, with ifs bov turned outwards 
from the quay, it nosed its way into the open sea 
beyond. The second boat quickly followed, and then, 
with more clanging of bells and curt orders fo the 
helmsman, she slid through the water like a grey- 
hound, and, with shouts of " good luck ! " from the 
people on the quay, we were quickly swallowed up 
in the mist ahead. 
The boats kept abreast for a considerable time 
and then, out vessel taking the lead, with a torpedo 
boat on either side and one ahead, the convoy 
headed for France. 
The j ourney across was uneventful. If vas quite 
dark when we backed into harbour ai Boulogne; 
flares were lit and, as the boat drew alongside 
quay, the old familiar A.M.O. with his huge mega- 
phone shouted in stentorian tones that all officers 
and men returning on duty must report to him ai his 


offices, fifty yards down the quay, etc., etc., etc. 
His oration finished, the gangway was pushed aboard 
and everybody landed as quickly as possible. I had 
wired from the War Office earlier m the day to 
G.H.Q., asking them to send a car to meet the boat. 
Whether they had received my message in rime I did 
hot know--anyway I could hot find it, so, that night, 
I stayed at Boulogne, and the following evening 
proceeded fo G.H.Q. to receive instructions. 
Here I collected my apparatus and stood by for 
instructions. News of our continued pressure on the 
Gcrman line of retreat was penetrating through. 
First one village, then another fell into our hands. 
The fall of Peronne was imminent. My instructions 
were to proceed to Peronne, or rather the nearest 
point that it was possible to operate from. 
I journeyed that night as far as Amiens, and there about midnight, dog tired, went to my 
prewous billet in the Rue l'Amiral Cambet, and 
turned n. Early next morning I reported to a 
major of the Intelligence Department, who told me 
our troops had entered Peronne the previous night. 
Rather disappointed that I had not been there to 
obtain the entry, I made tracks for that town. 
I took by-roads, thinking that they would be 
more negotiable than fhe main ones, and, reaching 
the outskirts of the village of Biaches, I left the car 
there and prepared fo walk into Peronne. I could 
see in the distance that the place was still burning ; 
columns of smoke were pouring upwards and splash- 
ing the sky with patches of villainous-looking black 
Strapping my camera upon my back, and bidding 
my man follow with my tripod, I started off down the 
hill into Biaches. Then the signs of the German 
retreat began to fully reveal themselves. The ground 
was absolutely littered with the horrible wastage of 
war; roads were torn open, leaving great yawning 

gaps that looked for all the world like huge j agged 
wounds. On my right lay the Château of La Maison- 
nette. The ground there was a shambles, for 
numerous bodies in various stages of putrefaction 
lay about as they had fallen. 
I left this section of blood-soaked earth, and, 
turning fo my left, entered the village, or rather the 
site of what had once been Biaches. I will not 
attempt to describe it; my pen is hot equal to 
the task of conveying even the merest idea of the 
state of the place. It was as if a human skeleton 
had been torn asunder, bone by bone, and then flung 
in all directions. Then, look around and say--this 
was once a man. You could say the same thing of 
Biaches--this was once a village. I stayed awhile 
and filmed various scenes, including the huge 
engineers' dump left by the Germans, but, as the 
light was getting rather bad, I hurried as fast as 
possible in the direction of Peronne. 
I wandered down the path of duck-boards, over 
the swamp of the Somme, filthy in appearance, 
reeking in its stench, and littered with thousands of 
empty bottles, that showed the character of the 
drunken orgies to which the Huns had devoted 
I reached the canal bank. Lying alongside was the 
blackened ribs of a barge. Only the stern was above 
water and if was still smouldering ; even the ladders 
and foot-bridges were ail destroyed ; not a single 
thing that could be of any use whatsoever had been 
left. I trudged along the canal bank ; bridge after 
bridge I tried, but it was no use, for each one in the 
centre for about ten or twelve feet was destroyed-- 
and, stretched between the gap, I found a length of 
wire netting covered over with straw--a cunning 
trap set for the first one across. Not a bridge was 
passable--they were all down ! 
Peronne lay on the other side and there I must 

get before the light failed and while the place was 
still burning ; if I had to make a raft of old tituber 
I ruade up my mind to get there. 
Returning to the bank I placed my camera upon 
the ground and with the help of three men gathered 
up some rusty tin cylinders, which, earlier in the 
campaign, had been utilised as floats for rafts. 
I had fished out of the river three planks, and 
laying them at equal distance upon the cylinders, I 
lashed them together and so made a rait of sorts. 
With tare I might be able to balance myself upon 
it and so reach the other section of the bridge and 
then a rope at either end would enable my man and 
tripod to be pulled across. 
The idea was excellent, but I found that my 
amateur lashing together with the strong current 
that was running made the whole plan quite im- 
possible, so, airer being nearly thrown into the river 
several rimes, and one of the floats coming adrift 
and washing away, and then doing a flying leap to 
save myself being hurled into the water upon a 
trestle which collapsed with my weight, I decided 
to give up the experiment and explore the river 
bank further down in the hope of getting across. 
Eventually, airer going for about two kilometres, 
I reached the ruins of the main bridge leading into the 
town. This, also, was blown up by the retreating 
Huns, but, by using the blocks of stone and twisted 
iron girders as " stepping-stones," I reached the 
other side. 
The old gateway and dravbridge across the moat 
were destroyed ; the huge blocks of masonry were 
tossed about, were playthings in the hands of the 
mighty force of high explosives which flung them 
there. These scenes I carefully filmed, together with 
several others in the vicinity of the ramparts. 
The town was the same as every other I had filmed 
--burnt and shell-riven. The place as a habitable 



town simply did not exist. German names were 
everywhere ; the names of the streets were altered, 
even a French washerwoman had put up a notice 
that " washing was done here," in German. 
Street after street I passed through and filmed. 
Many of the buildings were still burning and atone 
corner of the Grande Place flames were shooting out 
of the windows of the three remaining houses in 
Peronne. I hastily fitted up my camera and filmed 
the scene. When I had finished it was necessary to 
run the gauntlet, and pass directly under the burning 
buildings to get into the square. 
Showers of sparks were flying about, pieces of the 
burning building were being blown in all directions by 
the strong wind. But I had to get by, so, buttoning 
up my collar tightly, fastening my steel shrapnel 
helmet on my head, and tucking the camera under 
my arm, I made a rush, yelling out to my man fo 
follow with the tripod. As I passed I felt several 
heavy pieces of something hit my helmet and another 
blazing piece hit my shoulder and stuck there, 
making me set up an unearthly yell as the flames 
caught my ear and singed my hair. But, quickly 
shooting past, I reached a place of safety, and 
setting up the camera I obtained some excellent 
views of the burning buildings. 
Standing upon a heap of rubble, which once 
formed a branch of one of the largest banking con- 
cerns in France, I took a panoramic scene of the 
great square. The smoke clouds curling in and 
around the skeleton walls appeared for all the world 
like some loathsome reptile seeming to gloat upon 
its prey, loath to leave it, until it had ruade abso- 
lutely certain that nota single thing was left fo be 
With the exception of the crackling flames and the 
distant boom of the gtlns, it was like a city of the 
dead. The once beautiful church was totally 

dcstroyed. In the square was the base of a monu- 
ment upon which, before the war, stood a memorial 
fo France's glorious dead in the war of 187o. The 
" kulured " Germans had destroyed the figure and, 
in its place, had stuck up a dummy stuffed with 
sraw in the uniform of a French Zouave. Could 
ever a greaer insult be shown 4o France ! 
Not conten with burning the whole town, the 
Huns had gone to he trouble of displaying a huge 
signboard on the side of a building in the square on 
which wcre hese words: " Don't be vexed--just 
admire! " 
Think of it ! The devils ! 



Exploring the Unknown--A Silence That Could be Felt--In the 
Village of Villers-Carbonel--A Cat and Its Kittens in an Odd 
Retreat--]3rooks' Penchant for" Souvenirs "--The First Troops 
to Cross the Somme. 

IEUTENANT B, the official " still" 
photographer, and I have been com- 
panions in a few strange enterprises in the 
war, but I doubt whether any have equalled in 
strangeness, and I might say almost uncanny, 
adventure that which I am about fo record. In cold 
type if would be pardonable for anyone fo dis- 
believe some of the facts set forth, but, as I bave 
proved for myself the perfect application of the 
well-known saying that " truth is stranger than 
fiction," I merely relate the facts in simple language 
exactly as they happened, and leave them to speak 
for themselves. 
If was early morning on March I7th, x917, when 
±he Germans began their headlong flight towards 
their Cambrai, St. Quentin, or "Hindenburg '" Line. 
When B and I hastened along the main St. 
Quentin Road, troops and transports were as usual 
everywhere. We passed through the ruined villages 
of Foscaucourt and Estrées and brought our car ±o a 
standstill about two kilometres from the village of 
Villers-Crbonel, if being impossible owing ±o the 
fearful road conditions fo proceed further. 
We left the car and started off fo explore the 
unknown. On either side of the road I noticed many 
troops in their trenches ; they were looking down 


at us as if we were something out of the ordinary, 
until I turned to him and said" 
" Is there anything funny about us ? These chaps • 
seem tobe highly interested in out appearance, or 
something. What is it ? " 
" I don't know," he said, " let's enquire." 
So, going up fo an R.A.M.C. officer, who was 
standing outside his dug-out, I asked him if there 
was any news--in fact I enquired whether there was 
a war on up there, everything seemed tobe so abso- 
lutely quiet. 
" Well," he said, " there was up to about three 
hours ago ; Bosche has fairly plastered us with 5-9 
and whizz-bangs. These suddenly ceased, and, as a 
matter of fact, I began fo wonder whether peace 
had been declared when your car came bounding up 
the road. How the devil did you manage it ? 
Yesterday evening the act of putting one's head over 
the parapet was enough to draw a few shells ; but 
you corne sailing up here in a car." 
" This is about the most charming joy-ride I bave 
da " 
had for many a y, I replied, " but let me intro- 
duce myself. I ara Malins, the ONcial Kinemato- 
grapher, and my friend here is the Official ' still' 
picture man. We are here fo get scenes of the 
German retreat, but it seems to me that one cannot 
sec Bosche for dust. That is Villers-Carbonel, is if 
not ? " I said, pointing up the road in the distance. 
" Yes," he replied. 
" Right," I said, " we are going there and on our 
way back we'll tell you all the news." 
With a cheery wave of the hand he bade us adieu, 
and we started on our journey. 
The once beautiful trees which lined the sides of 
the road were torn fo shreds and, in some instances, 
were completely eut in half by shell-fire and the 
trunks were strewn across the road. These and the 
enormous shell-holes made it difficult to proceed 


af all, but, by clambering over the huge tree trunks, 
in and out of filthy slime-filled shell-holes, and 
nearly tearing oneself to pieces on the barbed wire 
intermingled with the broken branches, we managed 
at last fo reach the village. Nota sound was tobe 
heard. I turned to my companion. 
" This is an extraordinary state of affairs, isn't it ? 
In case there are any Bosche rearguard patrols, 
we'll keep this side of the ruins as much as possible." 
The village was practically on the top of a ridge of 
hills. I stood under the shadow of some tree-stumps 
and gazed around. What a scene of desolation it was. 
I got my camera into action and took some excellt'nt 
scenes, showing what was once a beautiful main 
road : broken trees flung over it in all directions like 
so many wisps of straw, and an unimaginable mass 
of barbed wire entanglements. Then, swinging my 
camera round, I obtained a panoramic view of the 
destroyed village. Dotted here and there were the 
dead bodies of horses and men : how long they had 
lain there Heaven knows ! 
While examining the ruins of a building which 
used to be a bakehouse I received a startling sur- 
prise. I was bending down and looking into an 
empty oven when, with a rush and a clatter, a fine 
black cat sprang at my legs with a frightened, 
1Diteous look in its eyes, and mewed in a strange 
manner. For a moment I was startled, for the 
animal clung to my breeches. The poor creature 
looked half-starved. In its frenzy, it might bite or 
scratch my leg or hand. Blood-lDOisoning would be 
likely to follow. I gently lowered my gloved hand 
and caressed its head. With a sort purr it relaxed 
its hold of my leg and dropped to the ground. 
Feeling more comfortable I unfastened my satchel 
and, taking out some biscuits, gave them to the poor 
brute. It ravenously ate them up. My second 
surprise was to corne. A faint scratching and 


mewing sound came from behind some bread bins in 
a corner and, as I looked, the black cat sprang 
forward with a biscuit in its mouth in the direction 
of the sound. I followed and gently moved the bin 
aside. The sight there almost brought tears into my 
eyes. Lying upon some old rags and straw were 
three tiny kittens. Two were struggling around the 
mother cat, mewing piteously and trying to nibble at 
the biscuit she had brought. The other was dead. 
The mother cat looked up at me with eyes which 
were almost human in their expression of thanks. 
I took out some lnore biscuits, and breaking them up 
in an empty tin I picked up from the floor, I poured 
some water from my bottle on fo them, placed it 
beside the starving group and, leaving a handful 
near the mother cat, I made their retreat as snug as 
Making our way again to the main road I stood 
by some ruins and looked away in the distance where 
the Germans had disappeared. What a difference. 
Here were green fields, gorgeous woods, hills, and 
dales with winding roads sweeping away out of 
sight. It reminded me of the teeling Moses must 
have experienced when he looked upon the Promised 
Land. Here were no shell-torn fields, no woods 
beaten out of all semblance to anything, no earth 
upon which thousands of men had poured out their 
blood ; but, here in Iront of us, a veritable heaven. 
" Corne along," I said, " let's explore. If there are 
any Bosches about they'll soon let us know of their 
presence. Let's get on to that other ridge; the 
Somme river should be there somewhere." 
We left the village and cautiously followed the 
road down one hill and up the next. The Germans 
had disappeared as completely as if the earth had 
swallowed them up. Nota soul was tobe seen ; we 
might bave been strolling on the Surrey hills ! 
I gradually reached the brow of the next ridge. 


The sight which met my eyes was the most stimulat- 
ing one I had ever seen from a picture point of view. 
There, in front of us, at a distance of six hundred 
yards, was the river Somme---the naine which will 
go down to history as the most momentous in this 
the bloodiest war the world has ever known. 
There if glistened, winding its way north and 
south like a silver snake. 
" Corne along," I said, "I shall get the first 
picture of the Somme," and we raced away down 
the road. 
In calmer moments at home I have admitted that 
we were mad. Nobody in their right senses would 
bave done such a thing as to rush headlong into 
country which might have been thick with enemy 
snipers and machine-guns. But the quietness of the 
grave reigned--not a rifle-shot disturbed the silence. 
Evidence of the German retreat met our gaze as 
we ran down the road. On either side were dis- 
carded material and, in a quarry on the left, a 
German Red Cross sign was stuck up on a post, and 
several dug-outs were burning--smoke was pouring 
up from below, showing that the Hun was destroying 
I was brought to a standstill at the sight of a mass 
of wreckage near the river. Smoke was issuing from 
it. I looked on my map and saw that it was the 
village of Brie ; a small section was this side of the 
river, but the main part was on the other side. The 
whole place had been completely destroyed, partly, 
I ultimately found out, by our gun-fire, and the 
remainder burnt or blown up by the Germans. 
The river had developed into a swampy marsh ; 
in fact it was very difficult to say precisely where 
the river and canal finished and the marshes began. 
I again got my camera into action and filmed, for 
the first rime, the Somme river which was directly in 
our line of advance. 


The bridges were blown up ; huge masses of stone 
and iron, twisted and torn and flung into the morass 
of weeds and rnud and water, forming small dams, 
thus diverting the river in all directions. Several 
scenes on this historic spot I filmed, then, wishing to 
push forward, I attempted fo cross the broken 
bridges. By careful rnanoeuvring I managed to cross 
the first, then the second, but a large gap blown in 
the roadway about forty feet across, through which 
the water rushed in a torrent, brought me fo a 
standstill, so rcluctantly I had fo retrace my steps. 
Except for the sound of rushing water the quiet- 
ness was alnaost uncanny--the exciternent of the 
chase was over. Then I began to realise our position. 
We wcre in a section of ground which the enemy 
had occupicd only a few hours belote and had 
apparcntly abandoned--vanished into rhin air ! We 
were af least two kilometres in frozt of our infantry, 
in fact we had, of our own accord--keen on obtaining 
live scenes for the people af homeconstituted our- 
selves an advance patrol, armed, not with machine- 
guns, swords, or lances, but with carneras. There 
was every possibility of our being taken for Germans 
ourselves by our men from a distance; the real 
advance guard coming up would undoubtedly open 
tire and enquire into credentials afterwards. The 
ruins across the bridge rnight hide enerny rifles; 
they rnight open tire any moment. I explained the 
situation to my companion, who had also pre- 
sumably reached a decision very similar to my own, 
which was to return to the village of Villers-Carbonel 
as quickly and as carefully as possible. 
Keeping to the side of the road we trudged back, 
and half-way up the hill we tan into one of the things 
I expected--an advance party. An officer carne 
forward and said in astonished tones : 
" Where the devil have you fellows corne frorn ? " 
" We've been getting photographs of the German 


retreat," I replied. " We're the official photo- 
graphers and bave been half-way across the Somme, 
but owing to the bridge being blown up we bave 
tome back. The Germans seem to have vanished 
entirely, not a sign ol one about anywhere." 
"Well, I'm ," he said, "this is the Iunniest 
thing l've ever known. Will our advance patrols 
constitute the oflïcial photographers for the future ? 
If so, it will save us any amount of trouble." 
" Well ? " I said, " you can go on--devil a Bosche 
is over there anyway." 
" Well," he said, " these troops I am taking down 
will be the first across the Somme." 
" Right," I said, seeing immediately the scoop it 
would be Ior my film. " I will tome back and tihn 
your men going over ; it will make a unique picture." 
With that we retraced our steps, and laughing and 
chatting about our adventure, we once again reached 
the Somme river. 
I fixed up my camera, and, when all was ready, a 
rough bridge was hastily made of several planks 
lashed together to bridge gaps in the Iallen stone- 
work, and I filmed the first troops to cross the Somme 
during the great German retreat. 
The light was now Iailing, so, packing up my 
apparatus, and waving farewells to the C.O., I turned 
back again. B--joined me ; the day had been a 
great one Ior us, and we mutually agreed that it was 
a fitting sequel to the first British battle that had 
ever been filmed which I took at Beaumont Hamel 
on July Ist, 1916. 
Weary in body, but very much alive mentally, we 
returned via Villers-Carbonel to our car. 
On my way back I wondered how the car and her 
kittens were getting on. 
The black cat had certainly brought me luck. 



The Enemy Destroy Everything as They Go--Clearing Away the 
Débris of the ]3attlefield--And Repairing the Damage Done by 
the Huns--An Enormous Mine Crater--A Reception by French 
Peasants--" Les Anglais I Les Anglais I " Stuck on the Road 
to ]3ovincourt. 

O keep in touch with all the happenings on 
that section of the front for which I was 
responsible, and to obtain a comprehensive 
record of events, it was necessary to keep very 
wide awake. Movements, definite and indefinite, 
were taking place in scores of different places at the 
same moment. To keep in touch with the enemy, 
to work with out Iorward patrols, fo enter upon the 
heels of our advance guard into the evacuated 
villages--and, if possible, to get there first and film 
their trimnphal entry, film out advance inIantry 
and guns taking up new positions, the engineers at 
work remaking the roads, building new bridges over 
the Somme, laying down new railways and repairing 
old ones--the hundred and one different organisa- 
tions that were working and straining every muscle 
and ncrve for the common cause. Only the favoured 
few have the relnotest idea of the enormous amount 
of work to be done under such conditions. 
The road (which was No Man's Land yesterday 
morning) to the village of Villers-Carbonel was now 
swarming with men clearing away the accumulated 
dbris of the battlefield. Tree trunks vere moved 
off the road, shell-holes were being filled up with 
bricks and branches, trenches, which crossed the 



road, were being filled in, a Tank trap at the 
entrance to the village, the shape of a broad, deep 
ditch, about thirty by twenty feet wide by fifteen 
feet deep, was being loaded with tree trunks and 
earth. I filmed these scenes ; then hurried as fast 
as possible in the direction of Brie to cover the 
advanced work on the Somme, and then fo cross to 
the other side and get in touch with our cavalry 
What an extraordinary change in the place! 
Yesterday a ghostly silence reigned ; now men and 
material and transport were swarming everywhere. 
I reached the river. The engineers had thrown up 
light, temporary bridgeshsix in all. Huge iron 
girders had arrived from back behind; they had 
been made in readiness for " The Day." Our H.Q. 
had known that the Germans in their inevitable 
retreat would destroy the bridges, so, to save rime, 
duplicates were built in sections, ready to throw 
across the gap. 
I managed fo arrive in rime to film several 
squadrons of the Duke of Lancaster's cavalry 
hurrying forward to harass the enemy. Cclist 
patrols were making their way over. I hurried as 
fast as possible through the ruins of Brie and on fo 
the ridge beyond. In the distance I watched our 
cavalry deploying in extended order and advance 
towards a wood to clear it of the enemy rearguards. 
Motor-cyclists, with their machine-guns, were dash- 
ing up the hill anxious fo get into contact with the 
flying enemy. I filmed many scenes in this section. 
I looked along the road which was the main one 
into St. Quentin ; if stretched away as far as the eye 
could sec. The condition is certainly excellent, I 
thought. There would be a greater possibility of 
obtaining exciting scenes if it were possible fo 
proceed in my car ; the only question was whether 
the temporary bridges across the Somme were 


capable of sustaining the weight. The possibility of 
getting into villages just evacuated by the Germans 
spurred me on, so retracing my steps, I reached the 
river again. 
" Do you think the bridge will take the weight of 
my car ? '" I asked an officer in charge of engineers. 
" What is it ? " 
" Daimler," I replied. 
" Well," he said, " there is a risk, of course, but 
our G.S. wagons have been across and also the 
artillery, so they may take your bus--if you don't 
bounce lier in crossing." 
" Right-o ! " I said. " I will get it down. Hurry- 
ing across I had just reached the last bridge when, 
wih a sudden snap, one of the main beams gave. way. 
AI1 traffic was, of course, stopped, and englneers 
quickly got to vork replacing the broken girder. 
" It will be af least another hour, sir," said a 
sergeant in answer fo my enquiry. So there was 
nothing for if but fo curb my impatience and wait, 
and I stood my apparatus down and watched the 
At that moment a car came fo a standstill along- 
side me. 
" What's wrong ? " called out one of the occu- 
" Broken bridge," I said. " I'm waiting fo cross 
with my car fo get films of the villages and the 
" That's good," said the speaker, a captain. "I 
ara going up fo hem as well. Intelligence I heard 
from our airmen this morning that they saw civilians 
in one or two villages a few miles out--so I'm off fo 
investigate. Would you tare to tome ? We shall be 
the first there." 
" Yes, rather," I replied. " It will be a fine scoop 
for me fo film the first meeting of British troops in 
the liberated villages. I will follow in my car." 


The bridge was again complete, so, dumping my 
camera aboard, I followed in the wake of the 
captain. Up the hill »ve dashed and spun along the 
road af the top, passing beyond the outskirts of Brie. 
We were now beyond the extreme limit of the 
shelling which we had subjected the Germans to 
during their months of occupation. 
I was now beginning to see the sights and view the 
atrocious system and regularity of wilful destruction 
which had obviously been planned monlhs before by 
the Huns to carry out Hindenburg's orders and make 
the whole land a desert. Not a tree was standing; 
whole orchards were hewn down; cvery fruit tree 
and bush was destroyed ; hedges were cut af the 
base as if with a razor; even flose surround- 
ing cemeteries were treated in Œhe saine vay. 
Agricultural implements vere smashed. Mons en 
Chaussé was the first village we entered; every 
house was a blackened smoking ruin, and whcre the 
fiends had hot done their work with tire they had 
brought dynamite fo their aid; whole blocks of 
buildings had been blown into the air; there was 
not sufficient cover for a dog. 
The car suddenly came to a standstill ; my driver 
jammed on his brake and I hurfied forward. There, 
at the middle of the village cross-roads was another 
enormous mine-crater--one hundred feet across by 
about sixty feet deep. It was quite impassable, but 
the sight which astounded me was to see about 
twenty old women and children running up the road 
the other side of the crater shouting and waving 
their arms with joy. " Les Anglais ! Les Anglais ! " 
they yelled. I got my camera into position and 
filmed the captain and his compamons as they 
clambered round the jagged lip of the crater and 
were embraced by the excited people. For the first 
time since their captivity by the Germans they had 
seen " les Anglais." Liberators and captives met ! 


Several scenes I filmed of the enormous crater and 
of lhe cut-down fruit trees. Not a single tree, old or 
young, xvas left standing. To blow up roads, and 
hew down telegraph poles was war, and such 
measures are justified ; but fo destroy every tree or 
bush that could possibly bear fruit, wilfully fo smash 
up agricultural implements ; to shoot a dog and rie 
a label to its poor body wrilten in English : 
" Tommies, don't forger to put this in 
your next communique--that we killed one 
dog. (Signed) THE HuIs." 

To crucify a cat upon a door and stick a cigar in ifs 
mouth, to blow up and poison wells, to desecrate 
graves, lo smash open vaults and rob the corpses 
which lay there, and then fo kick the bones in all 
directions and use the cofflns as cess-pools--these 
things I bave seen with my own eyes. Is this war ? 
It is the work of savages, ghouls, fiends. 
I wondered where these people had corne from and 
where they had been as the whole village xvas burnt 
oui. I enquired and found lhat the Germans, two 
days before, had cleared the village of its popula- 
tion and distributed them in villages further back, 
and had then set tire to the place, leaving nolhing 
but a desert behind, and taking wilh lhem all lhe 
men who could work and many girls in lheir teens to 
whal fate one may guess. 
These few villagers had wandered back during the 
day to gaze upon the wreckage of their homes and 
arrived just in rime to meet us al the crater. 
" We will get along," said my companion. "I 
want to visit Bovincourt and Vraignes before night- 
fall, though I ara afraid we shall nol do it. By 
making a detour round these ruins I believe we shail 
strike the main road further down." 
I followed him through the ruins and, after 


bouncing over innumerable bricks and beams, we 
reached the main road. We passed through Estrées- 
en-Chaussée. One large barn was only standing; 
everything was as quiet as the grave; columns of 
smoke were still rising from tlle ruins. 
Another iamming on of brakes brought us to a 
standstill at a cross-roads; another huge tnine- 
crater was in Iront of us and it was most difficult fo 
see until we were well upon it. There was nothing 
fo do but fo take to the fields---our road was at 
right angles to the one we were traversing. 
I examined the ground, it was very soit, and the 
newly scattered earth and clay from the mine ruade 
it much worse. 
" If we get stuck," I thought, " there is nobody 
about to help us out." The captain tried and got 
I yelled out that I would follow ; they disappeared 
in the direction of Bovincourt. Backing my car to 
get a good start I let it go over the edge of the road 
into the field. It was like going through pu.dd!ng. 
The near wheels roared round without gnpplng. 
Then it happened! We were stuck! A fine pre- 
dicament, I thought, with prowling enemy patrols 
about and no rifle. 
" All shoulders to the wheel," I said. By digging, 
and jamming wood, sacking and strav under the 
wheels we managed, airer three-quarters of an hour, 
to get it out. Jove ! what a rime it was ! And so on 
the road again. 
" We will get into Bovincourt," I said. " Let ber 
go ; I may meet the others." 
The feeling was uncanny and my position 
strange, for all I knew Bosches were all around me 
(and later on this proved to be the case). 
Night was falling, and ere I reached the village it 
was quite impossible to take any scenes. 
At the entrance to the village I ran into several 

people who crowded round the car, crying and 
laughing in their relief ai seeing the British arrive. 
Old men and women who could barely more hobbled 
forward to shake hands, with tears in their eyes. 
They clambcred in and around the car, and it was 
only by maldng them understand that I would 
return on the following day that they allowed the car 
to proceed. The sight was wonderful and I wish I 
were able to dcscribe it better. 
[ could nol find the other car, so, assuming it had 
gone back, I decided to return as far as Brie and stay 
lhe night. As I was leaving the village a bursl of 
machine-gun tire rang out close by followed by 
violent rifle-shots. 
" Lct her go," I said to my chauffeur. " I ara hot 
ai all anxious to get pipped oui here. My films must 
hot Iall into enemy hands." 
The car shot up the road like a streak ; the mine- 
crater was abead and the possibility of getting stuck 
again whilst crossing ruade me feel anylhing but 
easy. Full tilt, I told my driver, we must trust 
speed to get across. On went the lower gear; a 
right-hand twist of lhe wheel and we were on the 
field ; lhe speed gradually grew less, the back wheels 
buzzed round but still gripped a little. 
" Keep her goiug ai all costs," I yelled, " if the car 
sticks here it vill have to be left." To lighten her a 
little I jumped out and pushed up behind for all I 
vas worth. Mud was flying in all directions; we 
vere nearly across; another twenty yards. With 
a final roll and screech she bounded off on 
road. I jumped aboard again and up the road we 
shot towards Mons. If the Hun patrols had been 
anywhere near lhey must have thought a battalion of 
Tanks were on their track, for lhe noise my old 
" bus " made getting across that field was positively 
deafening. On I vent through Mons, into the ruins 
of its bouses, still glowing red and, in some places, 

flames were licking around the poor skeletons of its 
once prosperous farms. 
One more mine-crater to negotiate; then all 
would be plain sailing. It was now quite dark. I 
dared not use lights, not,even side lamps, and going 
was decidedly slow and risky in consequence. I sat 
in the bonnet of the car and, peering ahead, called 
out the direction. Shortly a lightish mass loomed up 
only a few yards distant. 
" Stop ! " I yelled. 
On went the brakes, and only iust in time. We 
came fo a standstill on the outer lip of a huge crater. 
Another two yards and I should have been trying 
to emulate the antics of a " tank " in sliding dovn 
a crater and crawling up the other side. Iii my case 
the sliding down would bave been all right, but 
coming up the other side vould bave been on the lap 
of the gods. A hundred men with ropes and myself-- 
vell, but that's another story. 
" Back the car to give ita good run," I said, " and 
let us lighten it as much as possible," and soon all 
was ready. 
" I will go ahead and put my handkerchief over 
my electric light ; we must risk being seen--you head 
direct for the glow." 
I went into the muddy fields. 
"Let her go," I shouted. With a whir and a grind 
I could tell it had started. I stood still. It was coming 
nearer. Ye gods! what a row. Then, suddenly, the 
engines stopped and dead silence reigned. 
" It's stuck, sir," came a voice from the darkness. 
I went to the car and switched my lamp on to the 
near wheels. The car was stuck right up to the axel. 
" We shall never get out of this unaided," I said. 
" Put all the stuff back inside and get the hood up ; 
ve shall bave to sleep here to-night. 
Then, to add to the discomfiture of the situation, 
it began to rain, and rain like fury, and in a few 

minutes I was wet through to the skin. The hood 
leaked badly and had convenient holes in alignment 
fo one's body, whether you were sitting lengthways or 
otherwise inside. I had resigned myself for a dismal 
night out. Two hours had passed ,Then I heard the 
clatter of hoofs coming towards me in the distance 
and, by the direction of the sound, I could tell hey 
were our men. I tumbled out and tan as fast as 
possible to the other side of the crater and reached 
there just as the horsemen arrived. 
" Hullo ! " I shouted. 
" Hulloa ] " came the reply, " who is it ? " 
"I ara badly stuck, or rather my car is---in the 
mud in the ficld here. Can you hitch two or three of 
your horses on and hclp me out on fo the road ? " 
" Certainly, if we can, sir." 
"I will guide you with my lamp--by the way, 
vhere are you going ? " I said. 
" We are trying fo get into touch with Ihe Bosche. '' 
"I have been in Bovincourt," I said, "but there 
are none there, though I heard a lot of rifle-fire just 
outside the village." 
We arrived at the car and, quickly hitching on a 
rope, the engine was started up and, with a heave 
and a screech, it moved forward and was eventually 
dragged on to the road. 
"Thank Heaven," I thought. Then, thanking the 
men, and warning them of the other delightful mine 
crater further down, I started off again, sitting on 
the bonnet. 
As I neared Brie I switched on my lamp as a head- 
light and got held up by two sentries with their 
bayonets at the ready. They did not understand 
why a motor-car should be coming back apparently 
from the German lines, and their attitude was 
decidedly unfriendly till I assured them I was not a 
German, but only the Official Kinematographer out 
for pictures. 



Possibilities--Food for Famished Villagers--Meeting the Mayoress 
of 13ovincourt--Who l:h'esides ai a Wonderful Impromptu 
Ceremony--A Scrap Outside Vraignes--A Church Full of 
Refugees--A Truc Pal--A Meal with the Mayor oi I3ierne. 

O keep hard upon the heels of the retreating 
Germans and so obtain scenes, the char- 
acier of which had never been presented 
before to the British public, was my chief aim. 
I had no lime for sleep. I arrived ai my base wet 
through, the rain had continued throughout the 
whole of my return j ourney. Changing into dry 
underwear, I refilled my exposed spool-boxes and 
packed up a good surplus supply, sufficient to last 
for several days, then packing my knapsack with the 
usual rations, bully and bread, condensed rnilk and 
slabs of chocolate, I was ready to start out once more. 
My clothes had by this rime dried. Daylight was 
breaking, the car arrived and, with all kit aboard, 
I started out again for the Somme, wondering what 
the day would bring Iorth. 
I stopped on the way to pick up the "still" photo- 
" Where for to-day ? " he asked. 
" Bovincourt and Vraignes," I replied, " and, if 
possible, one or tvo of the villages near by. I must 
get into thern before out troops, so as to be able to 
film their entry. Does that suggest possibilities to 
you ? " I said, with a smile, knowing that he, like 


myself, would go through anything fo obtain 
" Possibilities," he said, " don't, you make my 
mouth water. How about food ? Shall we take 
some fo the villages ? " 
" Excellent idea," I said. 
We stopped on the way and purchased a good 
.supply of white bread and French sausages, think- 
mg that these two commodities would be most 
Through Foucacourt Estrées and Villers-Carbonel 
the roads were lined with troops, guns, and trans- 
port of every description, ail making their way 
forward. Engineers were hard at work on the roads ; 
shell-holes were filled in and road trenches bridged. 
Work was being pushed Iorward with an energy and 
skill which reflected great credit upon those in 
charge; traffic controls were at cross roads which 
forty-eight hours beIore had been " No Man's Land." 
Hun signboards were taken down and Iamiliar 
British names took their place. The sight was 
wonderful. En route I stopped and filmed various 
scenes. Arriving again af Brie on the Somme the 
change in affairs was astounding. The place was 
alive with men ; if was a veritable hive of industry ; 
new lines were being laid to replace the torn and 
twisted rails leIt by the Germans ; bridges were being 
strengthened, roads on both sides were widened, and, 
to make it possible fo continue the work throughout 
the night, a searchlight was being mounted upon a 
Crossing the bridges of Brie we mounted the hill 
and were once again upon the ridge. Great gaps had 
been made by out men in the huge line of barbed 
wire entanglements which the Huns had spent 
months of laboious work to construct. It stretched 
away over hill and dale on both sides as far as the 
eye could sec. 

To pick up further information I stopped a 
cyclist officer coming from the direction of Mons. 
" Any news ? " I enquired. " Where is Bosche ? " 
" We were in touch with his rearguards all last 
night," he said. " They have ruade several strong 
points round the villages o5 Vraignes, Haucourt, and 
Bierne. They were scouting around Vraignes, but 
we quickly put the wind up them," he said, with a 
smile. " Several villages were seen burning during 
the night and the enemy put a little shrapnel around 
some patrols near Pouilly, but no damage was donc." 
" Vraignes, of course, is quite clear ? " 
" Yes, as far as we know. Our patrols reported if 
clear late last evening, but possibly Bosche returned 
during the night. We captured three Bosches and 
they have an extraordinary tale of seeing two 
armoured cars yesterday evening near Bovincourt, 
and they insist upon it although I ara quite aware 
there were none af all near there. They say tbat 
about six o'clock they were on the outskirts of 
Bovincourt when two armoured cars came in sight. 
Not having a machine-gun with them they decided 
to hide and so took cover in the ruins of a house. 
Later on they say they was only one car leave in the 
direction of the main road. "l'hat's their talc and 
they seem quite serious about it." 
" Well," I said, with a grin, " do you think this 
car of mine would look like an armoured car at a 
distance ? " 
" Well, yes, possibly, in a failing light. Why ? " 
" Well, this must be one of your excellent 
prisoner's so-called armoured cars, because I was in 
Bovincourt with of the Corps Intelligence, 
hence the two cars. I missed him through getting 
stuck in the mud, and entered Bovincourt about 
six o'clock and left by myself later as a skirmish was 
taking place somewhere near by, and not being 
arrned with anything more dangerous than a camera, 

I decided to quit. I ara much obliged to the Bosche 
for taking his bus of mine for an armoured 
With a laugh and a cheery adieu the officer bade 
me good luck and pedalled off. 
I could not help hinking that I had had a lucky 
On again, and reaching the first mine, the scene of 
the previous night's adventure, I put the car to the 
field at a rush and by some extraordinary means go 
her round. 
I was jus entering the village when, wffh a shriek 
and a crash, a shell burst near the church. I sopped 
the car and, under cover of the ruins, reached a 
distance of about hree lmndred yards from where it 
fell. If any more were coming over I intended, if 
possible, to film them bursing. 
Carefully taking cover behind a wall, I fitted up 
my camera. Another shell came hurtling over and 
dropped and burst quit.e near the prevous spot. 
Showers of bricks flew in all directions, liberally 
splattering the wall behind which I was concealed. 
The débris cleared, up went my camera, and, standing 
by the handle, I awaited the next. 
It came soon enough, I heard the shriek nearer and 
nearer. I turned the handle and put my head close 
behind the camera with my eye to the view-finder. 
Crash came the shell, and, with a terrific report, it 
exploded. The whole side of a house disappeared, 
and bricks, wood, and metal flew in all directions. 
I continued to turn when, with an ugly little 
whistle, a small piece of something struck my view- 
finder and another my tripod. Luckily nothing 
touched the lens. I awaited the next. It was 
longer this rime, but it came, and nearer to me than 
the previous one. I was satisfied. I thought if they 
elevated another fifty yards I might get a much too 
close view of a shell-burst, so scrambled aboard the 

car, and ruade a detour round the mine on to the 
road beyond. 
" Those scenes ought to be very fine," I said. 
" It's one of those lucky chances where one has fo 
take the risk of obtaining a hrilling scene." 
By the balls of white smoke I could sec that 
shrapnel was bursting in the near distance. 
" That's near Pouilly," I said. " We are turning 
up on the left, let's hope the Huns don't plaster us 
Reaching the village of Bovincourt, the villagers 
were there eagerly awaiting our arrival. They again 
crowded around the car, and it was with difficulty 
that I persuaded them to let us pass into the village. 
Cheering, shouing, and laughing they followed close 
behind. I stopped the car and asked an old man 
who, by his ribbons, had been through the 187o war : 
" Where is the Mayor ? " 
" There is no Mayor, monsieur, but a mayoress, 
and she is thcre," pointing to a buxom French 
peasant woman about fifty years of age. 
I went up to ber and explained in my best French 
that I had brought bread and sausages for the people, 
would she share them out ? 
" Oui, oui, monsieur." 
" I would like you to do it here, I will then take 
a kinematograph film of the proceeding, so that the 
people in England can sec it." 
" Ah, monsieur, i is the firs white bread and 
good French sausage we bave seen since the Bosches 
came. They took everything from us, everything, 
and if it had not been for the American relief we 
should have starved. They are brutes, pig-brutes, 
monsieur, they kill everything." And, with tears 
in her eyes, she told me how the Huns shot her 
beautiful dog because, in its j oyfulness, it used to 
play with and bark at the children. " They did not 
like being disturbed, monsieur, so they shot him-- 


poor Jacques! They have not left one single 
animal ; everything has gone. Mon Dieu, but they 
shall surfer ! " 
I changed the painful subject by saying that now 
the Brffish had driven back the Bosche everything 
would be quite all right. With a wan smile she 
I set up my camera, and telling my man fo hand 
over the food, the Mayoress shared if out. One 
sausage and a piece of white bread to each person, 
men, women, and children. The j oy on their faces 
was wonderful to behold. As they received their 
share they ran off to the shelter of some ruins, or 
up into the church, to cook their wonderful gifts. 
I filmed the scene, and I shall never forger it. 
The last of the batch had disappeared when up 
the road came hobbling a woman whose age I should 
say was somewhere about forty-five. I could see 
she was on the point of exhaustion. She had a huge 
bundle upon her back and a child in her arms, 
another about seven years c.linging to ber skirts. 
They halted outside the rums of a cottage, the 
woman dropped ber bundle, and crouching down 
upon it clung convulsively to the babe in ber arms 
and burst into tears. 
I went up to her and gently asked ber the cause. 
" This, monsieur, was my bouse. Two days past 
the Germans drove me away with my children. My 
husband bas already been killed at the front. They 
drove me away, and I corne back to-day and now my 
home, all that I had in the world, monsieur, is gone. 
They bave burnt it. What can I do, monsieur ? 
And we are starving." 
The babe in her arms began fo send forth a thin 
lifeless wail. I helped the poor woman to ber feet 
and told her to go fo the church, and that I would 
bring her bundle and some food for ber. 
God above, vhat despair ! The grim track of war 

in all its damnable nakedness was epitomised in this 
little French hamlet. Houses burnt, horses taken 
away, agricultural implements wilfully smashed, 
fruit trees and bushes cut down, even the hedges 
around their little gardens, their cemetery violated 
and the remains of their dead strewn to the four 
winds of heaven. Their wells polluted with garbage 
.and filth; in some cases deliberately poisoned, 
n others totally destroyed by dynamite. Their 
churches used as stables for horses and for drunken 
orgies. Ail the younger men deported, and the 
prettiest of the girls. In some cases their clothes 
had been forcibly, taken away from them and sacks 
had been given n exchange to clothe thenselves 
with. They were robbed of every penny they 
But when the wonderful sound of the British guns 
and the tramp of our soldiers crept nearer and 
nearer, terrifying, relentless, and irresistible, the 
Germans left, fleeing with their ill-gotten spoil 
like demons of darkness before the angels of light, 
leaving in their trail the picture I have unfolded to 
Wishing fo push on further I scouted round the 
outskirts of the village. In a wood a short distance 
away it was evidently that our patrols were in contact 
with the Huns. Volley airer volley of rifle-fire rang 
out, and now and then a burst from the machine-guns. 
A horseman was heading straight for me. Was he 
British or Hun ? In a few minutes I could see he was 
one of our men--evidently a dispatcll-rider. He 
swept down into a hollow, then up the road into the 
village. He was riding hard; his horse stumbled, 
but by a great effort the rider recovered himself. He 
dashed past me and, clattering over the fallen masonry, 
disappeared from sight. 
I looked around. Nota sign of life anywhere, so I 
decided fo make for Vraignes about a kilometre 


distant south-east of Bovincourt. I had previously 
heard from one of the villagers that there were about 
one thousand people left there. 
Strapping my camera on my back I tramped away, 
my man following in the rear. The" still "man, who 
had left me after feeding the villagers, had been 
prowling around getting pictures. Accidentally he 
ran into me, so together we trekked off. 
Taking advantage of every bit of cover possible, as 
German snipers were none too careful as to where 
they put their bullets, we eventually reached the 
outskirts of Vraignes. Not a sign of Germans, but 
crowds of civilians. Things here were the saine as af 
Bovincourt, but a few more houses were left stand- 
ing owing fo the tire hOt completely doing its work. 
The people were in the saine state. We had just got 
into the village, and near the Mairie, when a commo- 
tion round the corner by the church attracted my 
atention. The men and women who had crowded 
around us shouting with joy, turned and rushed up 
the road. 
" Vive les Anglais ! Vive les Anglais ! " The cry 
was taken.up by every one. Hands and handkerchiefs 
were wavmg in all directions. " Vive les Anglais! 
Vive les Anglais ! " 
" Our boys are there," I said. 
My camera was up and turned on fo the corner 
where the crowd stood and, at that moment, a troop 
of out cyclists entered, riding very slowly through 
the exultant people--the first British troops to enter 
the village. I turned the handle. The scene was 
inspiring. Cheer after cheer rent the air. Old men 
and women were crying with j oy. Others were 
holding their babies up to kiss our boys. Children 
were clinging and hugging around their legs, until if 
was impossible for them to proceed further. The 
order was given by the officer in charge to halt. 
The men tumbled off their machines, the people 

surged round them. To say the men were em- 
barrassed would be fo put if mildly. They were 
absolutely overcome. I filmed them with the crowd 
around. And then an order was given to take up 
billets. Patrols were thrown out, sentries posted, 
the men parked their cycles and rested. 
On a large double door of a barn the Huns had 
gone fo the trouble of painting in huge letters the 
hackneyed phrase " Gott strafe England," and 
immediately our men saw it one of them, with a 
piece of chalk, improved upon if. 
They gathered the children round them and 
formed a group beneath the letters with German 
trophies upon their heads ; I filmed them there, one 
of the happiest groups possible to conceive. 
I left them and went to find the officer in charge, 
and asked him for the latest news from other 
" I couldn't say," he replied, " but my men were 
well in touch with them early this morning, but you 
seem to know more about it here than anyone else. 
When on earth did you arrive in the village ? " 
" Just before you," I replied. "I came from 
" Well, you have got some job. I certainly didn't 
expect to find anyone so harmless as a photographer 
awaiting our arrival." 
The conversation was abruptly stopped by a warn- 
ing shout from one of the observers on a house-ŒEop 
close by. 
" Germans, sir." 
The officer and I rushed to a gap in the buildings 
and looked through our glasses, and there, on a 
small ridge a thousand yards off, a body of horsemen 
were seen approaching, riding hard, as if their very 
lives depended upon it. 
An order was immediately given 4o the machine- 
gun company who had taken up a most advan- 


tageous position and one that commanded most of 
the country near by. 
I placed my camera in such a position by the side 
of a wall that I could see all that was taking place 
and if seen myself I could easily pull it under cover. 
Nearer and nearer they came. They were too far 
away to pbotograph. Excitement was intense. 
Were they coming into the village ? If they did, I 
thought, in all conscience they would get a warm 
reception, knowing as I did the arrangements for its 
defence. My eyes were fixed upon them. 
The officer close by was on the point of giving the 
order to tire when a burst of machine-gun tire rang 
out in the distance. 
" Our cavalry have got them," said the officer. 
" We have some strong posts just here, Bosche bas 
fairly run into them. Look! They bave their 
tails up." 
And they had, for they were running back for all 
they were worth in the direction of Bierne. 
Our men were positively disappointed, and I tan 
honestly say I was myself, for the possibilities of a 
wonderful scene had disappeared. 
The tension relaxed ; most of the men returned 
to their billets and quickly made themselves at home 
with the people. 
Noticing people going into church, I went up the 
bill to investigate. As I entered the outer gare an 
officer clattered up on horseback, swung himself off 
and walked up to me. 
" Hullo," he said, "I am ŒEhe doctor. Anything 
doing here ? " 
" Well," I said, " there might bave been just now." 
I related the happenings of the last ten minutes. 
" Have you been to Bovincourt ? " 
" Yes, but the poor devils are too ill for me. 
I haven't sufficient stuff with me to go round." 
Another officer tan up, "I say, Doctor, for 

Heaven's sake look in the church here. The place is 
packed and hall of them are ill, God knows what 
with, and one or two are dead." 
" Well, I will look, but I can do nothing until this 
evening. I have no stuff with me." 
We went into the church. Heavens! what a 
sight met our eyes; the atmosphere was choking. 
If was like a charnel-house. Crowds of old men, 
women, and children of all ages were crowded 
together with their belongings. They had been 
evacuated from dozens of other villages by the Huns. 
Women were hugging their children fo them. In 
one corner an old woman was bathing the head of a 
child with an old stocking dipped in water. The 
child, I could see, was in a high fever. There must 
have been af least three hundred people lying about 
in all directions, wheezing and coughing, moaning 
and crying. 
The doctor spoke fo one old woman, who had 
hobbled forward and sank down near a pillar. The 
doctor bent down and told her that he would bring 
medicine in the evening. Everybody there seemed 
to hear that magie word, and scrambled forward 
begging for medicine for themselves, but mostly 
for the children. The scene xvas pitiable in the 
I asked one women where they had tome from. 
She told me from many villages. The Bosche had 
turned them all out of their homes, then burnt their 
houses and their belongings. They had walked miles 
exposed to the freezing cold rains and winds, they 
had been packed into this church like a lot of sheep 
without covering, without rires. She was begging 
for medicine for her three-months-old babe. 
" She will die, moniseur, she will die ! " And the 
poor woman burst into a flood of tears. 
I calmed ber as much as possible by telling her 
that everything would be done for them without 


delay, and that medicine, food, and comfort would 
be given them. 
I turned and left the building, for the air was 
nearly choking me. Outside I met the doctor, who 
was arranging to send a cyclist back for an ambulance. 
"They cannot be treated here, it's impossible. 
l've never seen such a sight." 
I left him and went into the bouse where the 
cyclist C.O. had marie his temporary headquarters. 
"I want to get on further, lS there any other 
village near by ? " 
" Yes," he said, "there is Haucourt, but I 
believe Bosche is in part of it, or he was this morning. 
It's about two kilos from here. I shouldn't go if I 
were you nnless you get further information ; I ara 
expecting another patrol in from there. If you to wait a few minutes you may learn some- 
I agreed to wait, the " still " man came in just 
then, and he agreed to corne with me. 
" We may as well risk it," I said. " I will take my 
old bus into the place. If Bosche sees it he may 
mistake it again for an armoured car." 
So, packing the cameras aboard, I waited for the 
expe.cted patrol to turn up. Half an hour passed ; 
no slgn. Daylight was waning. 
" I ara going on," I said to the " still " man, " we 
cannot wait for the patrol, there's hot rime. Will 
you corne ? " 
" Yes," he said. 
I told the C.O. of my intention. 
" It's thundering risky," he said. " You're going 
into new ground again." 
I left Vraignes and advanced at a cautious pace 
in the direction of Haucourt. Rifle-fire was pro- 
ceeding in the distance, which I judged was the 
other side of the village. A destroyed sugar refinery 
on the left was still smoking. It had been blon up 


by the Huns and the mass of machinery was flung 
and twisted about in all directions. 
In the village I stopped the car close by a crucifix, 
which was still standing. 
" Turn the car round," I said to my driver, " and 
keep the engine going, we may bave fo boit for it." 
Then, shouldering the camera, I ruade my way up 
the main street. The place was a mass of smoking 
ruins; absolutely nothing was left. A huge mine 
had been blown up af a cross-road ; all trees and 
bushes had been cut down. A piano, curiously 
enough, was lying in the roadway ; the front had 
been smashed, and no doubt all the wires were 
hacked through by some sharp instrument, and the 
keys had all been broken. The Huns had evidently 
tried fo take if away with their other loot, but 
finding it too heavy for quick transport had aban- 
doned, then wilfully destroyed if fo prevent ifs being 
used by others. 
The place was as silent as the grave. I filmed a 
few scenes which appealed fo me, and was on the 
more towards the further end of the road when two 
of our cyclists suddenly came into view. I hurried 
up to them. 
" Any news ? " I asked. " Where's Bosche ? " 
The men were half dead with fatigue. Their legs 
were caked inches thick in mud, and it was only by 
a tremendous effort that they were able to lift their 
feet as they walked. They were pushing their 
cycles; the mud was caked thick between the 
wheels and the mudguards forming in itself a brake 
on the tyres. Fagged out as they obviously were 
they tried to smile at the reply one made. 
" Yes, the Bosche is about here outside the 
village," said one. " We had a small strong point 
last night over there," pointing in the distance, 
" myself and two pals. We were sitting in the hole 
smoking when nine Bosches jumped in on us. Well, 


sir, they managed to send my pal West, but that's 
all. Then we started and six Fritzes are lying out 
there now. The other three escaped. It ruade my 
blood boil, sir, when they did in my pal. I'm going 
to make a wooden cross, and then bury him. We 
had becn together for a long time, sir, and--well--I 
miss my pal, but we got six for him and more fo 
come, sir, more fo come before we've finished." 
I thanked the man and sympathised with him 
over his loss and complimented him on his fight. 
" But ifs not enough yet, sir, not enough." 
The two then struggled away, bent on their errand 
of making a cross for a pal. And as they disappeared 
among the ruins I wondered how many men in the 
world could boast of such a truc friend. Very few, 
worse luck ! 

The sharp crack of a rifle quickly brought me 
back to earth. A bullet struck the wall close by. 
I dived under cover of some bricks dragging my 
camera after me. Another came over seeming to 
strike the spot I had just vacated. I decided to 
keep the ruins between myself and the gentle Bosche. 
Scenes were very scarce, no marrer where one looked 
it was just ruins, ruins, ruins. 
I wandered on until I came to a long black build- 
ing, evidently put up by the Huns. It was quite 
intact, which to me seemed suspicious. It might 
hide a German sniper. I put my camera behind a 
wall then quietly edged near the building. Not a 
sound was audible. In case anyone was there I 
thought of a little ruse. The door vas close to me 
and it opened outwards, so picking up a stone I 
flung it over the roof, intending it to fall the other 
end and so create a diversion. With a sudden pull I 
opened the door alongside me, but with no result. 
I peered round the door; nobody there. I entered 
and found the building had been used as a stable. 

Straw was lying all over the place; feed-bags had 
been hastily thrown down, halters were dotted here 
and there, and a Uhlan lance was lying on the 
ground., which, needless to say, I retained as a 
souvemr. The rearguard of the enemy had evidently 
taken shelter there during the previous night and had 
made a hasty exit owing to the close proximity of out 
Evening was drawing on apace, so I decided to 
make my way back to the car. The " still " man 
was awaiting my return. 
At Bovincourt I met an Intelligence Officer and 
told him of my experiences. He seemed highly 
amused and thanked me for the information brought. 
I told him that wishing to be on the spot if anything 
interesting happened during the night or early next 
morning I had decided to sleep in my car n the 
village. I was going to hunt up a place to cook some 
" I will take you somewhere," he said. " There is 
the old Mayor of Bierne here. He has been evacuated 
by the Bosche. He's an interesting old fellow and 
you might have a chat with him. Fie is in a house 
close by with his wife. Corne along." 
We found the old man in one of the half-dozen 
remaining houses left intact by the Huns. 
We entered the kitchen and my friend intro- 
duced us to Paul Andrew, a tall stately French 
fariner of a type one rarely sees. He had dark curly 
hair, a shaggy moustache and beard, blue eyes and 
sunken cheeks, sallow complexion and a look of 
despair upon his face, which seemed to brighten up 
on out entrance. 
I asked him if his good wife would cook a little 
food for us, as we wished to stay the night in the 
" Monsieur," he said, " what we have is yours. 
God knows it's little enough--the Bosche has taken 

it ail. But whatever monsieur wishes he has only to 
ask. Will monsieur sit down ? " 
I bade adieu to the officer who had brought us 
there, had the car run into the yard, and then 
returned to the cosy kitchen, and sat by the tire 
whilst the old lady prepared some hot coffee. 
" These are more comfortable quarters than we 
expected to-night," I said. "I must make a note 
of all my scenes taken to-day. Have you a light, 
Monsieur Andrew ? " 
" Oui, Monsieur, I have only one lamp left and I 
bid that as the Bosche took everything that was 
ruade of brass or copper, even the door handles." 
He brought in the lamp, a small brass one with a 
candle stuck in it. I proceeded with my record, 
then we suppcd on bread, sardines, and bully, sharing 
our white bread with Andrew and his wife. They 
had hot seen or tasted such wonderful stuff since the 
Bosche occupation, and their eyes sparkled with 
pleasure on tasting it again. I had brought copies 
of tbe Echo de Paris, Journal, Matin and other 
French papers, and these were the first they had 
seen for two years. The fariner declared it was like 
a man awakening from a long sleep. 
" We'll turn in," I said. 
Gathering up my coat I opened the door. The 
freezing cold seemed to chill me to the bone, and it 
was snowing hard. I flashed on my torch and we 
found our way to the car. Quickly getting inside, I 
unfolded the seats which formed two bunks, and 
struggling inside our sleeping-bags we were soon 
I awoke with a start. It was pitch dark. I rubbed 
the steam from the door window and looked out; 
it was still snowing. I had an extraordinary feeling 
that something was happening, that some danger 
was near. If anybody had been there near the car 
I should have seen them; the snow ruade that 



possible. But there was nota sign of movement. 
I got out of my sleeping-bag, thinking that if any 
prowling Bosche patrol ventured near I should be 
able to do something. Nothing happened, and for 
quite hall an hour I was on the alert. Several rifle- 
shots rang out quite near, then quietness reigned 
again, and, as nothing else happened, I wriggled into 
my bag again and dozed. 
In the .morning I told one of our patrol officers of 
my expenence. 
" You were right," he said. " Uhlan rearguard 
patrols sneaked in near the village, and must have 
passed quite close fo your place. My men had some 
shots at them and gave chase, but owing to the 
confounded snow they got away." 
I decided that if I slept there again that night it 
would be with a rifle by my side. 



The «' Hindcnburg" LineA Diabolical Piece of Vandalism--Brigadier 
H.Q. in a CellarA Fight in Mid-airWaiting for the Taking 
oi St. QuentinL'Euvoi. 

TILL the great German retreat continued. 
Village after village fell into our hands; 

after toile the enemy vas relentlessly 
pursued by our cavalry and cyclist corps. Still the 
Germans burnt and devastated everything in their 
path although, in some instances, there was evidence 
that they were shifted from their lines of defence 
with far more force and promptitude than they 
imagined we would put up against them in this par- 
ticular section. The enemy had arranged his opera- 
tions, as usual, by timetable, but he had failed to 
take into consideration the character of the ]3ritish 
soldier, with the result his schemes had " gone 
agley." To save men the German high command 
gave orders for a further retirement to their Hinden- 
burg defences, a fortified line of such strength as had 
never been equalled. 
If this line was not impregnable, nothing could be. 
It was the last word in defence system and it had 
taken something like two years to perfect. 
The barbed wire, of a special kind, was formidable 
in its mass ; three belts fifty feet deep wound about 
it in an inextricable mass in the form of a series of 
triangles and other geometric designs. The trenches 
themselves were constructional vorks of art ; switch 
lines were thrown out as an extra precaution ; in 


front of the most important strategical positions, 
machine-gun posts and strong points abounded in 
unlimited quantities. It was the Hun's last and 
most powerful line of defence this side of the Franco- 
German frontier. This" Hindenburg" line stretched 
from a point between Lens and Arras where it joined 
the northern trench system, which had been 
occupied for the past two years, down to St. Quentin, 
passing behind the town at a distance of about rive 
kilos, with a switch line in front to take the first 
shock of the Allies' blow when it came. 
Behind this trench the Huns thought they could 
safely test and hold up the Allies' advance. But, 
with their wonderful and elaborate system of barbed- 
wire defence which they anticipated would keep us 
out, they probably forgot one point--it would 
certainly keep them in--tightly bolted and barred. 
Therefore, under such conditions, it was the side 
which had the predominance in guns and munitions 
that could smash their way through by sheer weight 
of metal, and force a passage through which to pour 
their troops, taking section by section by a series 
of flanking and encircling movements, threaten their 
line of communication, finally cracking up the whole 
line and compel a further extensive falling back to 
save their armies. 
Against the front portion of this line we thrust 
ourselves early in Match, 1917, and out massed guns 
poured in the most terrible tire the world had ever 
known. Lens was practically encircled--the Vimy 
ridge was taken by assault, and dozens of villages 
captured, resulting in the capture of eighteen 
thousand prisoners and over two hundred guns. 
Hindenburg threw in his divisions with reckless 
extravagance; he knew that if this section gave 
way all hope of holding on to Northern France was 
gone. Time and again he sent forward his " cannon 
fodder " in massed formation--targets which out 

guns could not possibly miss--and they were mown 
down in countless numbers ; his losses vere appalling. 
In certain places his attacking forces succeeded for 
a rime in retaking small sections of ground we had 
gained, only tobe driven out by a strong counter- 
attack. His losses were terribly disproportionate 
to his temporary advantage. 
I moved dowll to the extreme right of the British 
line ; St. Quentin was the goal upon which I had set 
my mind. hl my opinion the taking of that place 
by a combined Franco-British offensive with the 
triumphant entry of the troops would make a film 
second to none. In the first place the preliminary 
operations pictorially would differ from all previous 
issues of war tilms, and in the second place it would 
be the first film actually showing the point of 
" liaison " with the French and their subsequent 
advance--making if, from ail historical, public, and 
sentimental point of viev, a film par excellence. 
Therefore in this section of the British line I ruade 
my stand. 
I left my H.Q. early in April, 1917. I intended to 
live at the line in one of the cellars of a small village 
situated near the Bois de Holnon, which had been 
totally destroyed. 
I proceeded by the main St. Quentin road, through 
Pouilly in±o Caulaincourt. The saine desolation and 
wanton destruction was everywhere in e»idence; 
but the most diabolical piece of vandalism was 
typified by the once beautiful Château of Caulain- 
court, which was an avful heap of ruins. The 
Château had been blown into the Somme, vith the 
object of damming the river, and so flooding the 
country-side; partially it succeeded, but our engi- 
neers were quickly upon the scene and, soon, the 
river vas agaln running its normal course. The 
flooded park ruade an excellent watering-place for 
horses. The wonderful paintings and tapestries in 

the library on the Château had beeen destro.yed. 
As I wandered among the ruins, filming varlous 
scenes of our engineers at work sorting out the 
d6bris, I noticed many things which must have been 
of inestimable value. Every statue and ornamenta- 
tion about the grounds was wilfully smashed to 
atoms ; the flower-pots which lined the edges of the 
once beautiful floral walks had been deliberately 
crushed--in fact a more complete specimen, of 
purposeless, wanton destruction if would be im- 
possible to find. 
I filmed the most interesting sections; then 
continued my way through Bouvais on to sec the 
General of a Division. This Division was working 
near the French left. After a very interesting 
conversation this officer recommended me to call 
on a Brigadier-General. 
" He is stationed at  " he said. " I will ring 
him up and tell him you are on the way. He will 
give you all the map references of the O.P's in the 
neighbourhood. Anyway, you can make your own 
arrangements, I suppose, about views ? " 
" Oh, yes, sir, certainly, so long as I can get very 
near to the place." 
" Right. You go into all these details with 
General  " 
Thanking him I hurried away. I found the mines 
which Bosche had exploded at all cross-roads very 
troublesome, and on one occasion, in endeavouring 
to cross by way of the field alongside, I got badly 
stuck ; so I had to borrow a couple of horses to get 
me out on to the road again. 
/I duly arrived and reported to Brigadier H.Q. 
It was the cellar of a once decent house by the 
appearance of the garden. I went down six steps 
into a chamber reeking with dampness about six feet 
high by ten feet square; a candle was burning in a 
bottle on a roughly made table, and, sitting at 

it, was the General closely studying details on a 
He looked up as I entered. 
" Are you the Kinelna Inan ? " he enquired. 
" General  told Ine you were colning ; what do 
you want ? " 
"Well, sir," I said, " I want fo obtain fillns of all 
tbe operations in connection with the taking of 
St. Quentin ; if you bave an observation-post froln 
which I can obtain a good view it will suit Ine 
" I aln sure we can fix you up all right. But we 
are just going fo bave a Ineal ; sit down and join us. 
We can then go into details." 
Lunch was served in prilnitive fashion, which was 
unavoidable under such conditions--but we fared 
sulnptuously, although on a rough plain table with 
odds and ends for platters, and boxes and other 
makeshifts for chairs. 
During the Ineal I went into details with 
the General about Iny requirelnents. He quite 
understood Iny position and thoroughly appreciated 
Iny keen desire fo obtain solnething unique in the 
way of filln story. 
" The taking of St. Quentin by the Allied troops, 
sir, would be one of Iny finest fillns." 
" Well," he said, " the French are bolnbarding 
the suburbs and other places, so far as dalnage is 
concerned, to-day ; our batteries are also giving a 
hand. I sliould advise you to go to this spot "-- 
indicating a position on the Inap. " What do you 
think ? " he turned to the Brigade Major. " Will 
this do for hiln ? " 
" Yes, sir, I should think so." 
" Anyway, I can soon see, if you can put Ine on 
the road to find if. But a guide would save 
" You had better take him," said the General fo 

the Brigade Major ; " you 
" Right, sir," he said. 

know the place quite 

So, getting hold of an extra orderly to help carry 
my kit, we started off, up through a wood and then 
for the first time I viewed St. Quentin. 
" We had better spread out here," said my guide. 
" Bosche can observe ail movements from the 
Cathedral tower, and he doesn't forger to 'strafe' 
us,îlthough no harm is ever done." 
He is crumping now by ail appearances," I 
replied, noticing some crumps bursting about three 
hundred yards away. 
" Yes, they are ' strafing ' the place we are going 
to ! That's cheerful, anyway. We will make a wide 
detour ; he's putting shrapnel over now. Look out t 
Keep well fo the side of the wood." 
We kept under cover until it was necessary to 
cross a field to a distant copse. 
" That's our O.P. We bave some guns there, 
worse luck." 
" Hullo, keep down," I said ; " that's a burst of 
four." Crash--crash--crash--crash! in quick suc- 
cession, the fearful bursts making the ground 
" Very pretty," I remarked. "I will get my 
camera ready for the next lot." 
They came--and I started turning one after the 
other ; it was an excellent scene ; but, as the enemy 
seemed to.swing his range round slightly, the pieces 
were commg much too near to be healthy. So, 
hastily packing up, we ruade straight for the copse 
on the quarry top. 
High shrapnel was now bursting, several pieces 
whistling very unpleasantly near. 
" Let's get under shelter of the trees," said the 
Brigade Major, " the trunks will give us a lot of 


We ruade a run for it, and reached them safely, 
and, gently drawing near the outer edge, I was in full 
view of St. Quentin. 
The Cathedral loomed up with great prominence-- 
and shrapnel was exploding near the tower. 
" That's fo keep the Hun observers down," he 
said. " We are hot, of course, shelling the place fo 
damage it at ail. Those rires you can see there are of 
Bosche making; he is systematically burning the 
place as a prelude fo retreat. My Intelligence 
officer says that the Palace of Justice and the 
theatre are well alight, and airmen declare the town 
quite empty ; they flew over if yesterday only about 
two hundred feet above the house-tops and they were 
not fired at once. Seems fo me they've evacuated 
the populace entirely." 
" Jove," I said, " the French are letting them 
have it over there," pointing in the distance. 
" That is, of course, south of the tovn, very 
nearly running due east and west--it's an excellent 
barrage--and all H.E., too." 
I soon got my camera into action and, carefully 
concealing the tripod behind a tree trunk or rather 
a little fo one side, I began exposing. 
The.firing was very heavy. I continued exposing 
on vanous sections which gave me the most compre- 
hensive idea of barrage tire. 
" The French are bang up against the " Hinden- 
burg" line there, and it's pretty deep in wireas 
you know," said my guide, " but I think they will 
manage if all right ; it's only a matter of time. 
Hullo ! they are ' strafing ' their confounded guns 
again with H.E. Look out! keep down!" And 
keep down we did. " Those 59 of brother Fritz's are 
hot very kind fo one ; we had better stay for a few 
minutes ; he may catch us crossing the field." 
Ten minutes went by ; things were a bit quieter, 
so, hastily packing up, we doubled back to the road. 

"I never did like getting near forward gun 
positions," I said, " but, curiously enough, my best 
view-points compel me on many occasions to fix up 
in their vicinity." 
We got on to the road without casualties and in 
rime to see the H.L.I. forming up to leave at dusk 
for the front line, or the series of strong points which 
comprised it in this section. 
They were having the operation orders read out to 
them by their officer in charge. The scenes ruade 
very interesting ones for me--the men, alert and 
keen to the last degree, stood there in line, listening 
intently to the words until the end. 
The next morning I had a wire from H.Q. asking 
me to take charge of two French journalists for a 
day or two; thcy were most anxlous to see the 
British troops in action before St. Quentin. Towards 
midday they arrived--M. Gustave Babin, of 
L'Illustration, Paris--and M. Eugène Tardeau, of the 
Echo de Paris. I presented these gentlemen to the 
General, who kindly extended every facility to them. 
I took them up to the observation post from 
which they could look down on St. Quentin. 
" It will be a great moment for me," said M. Babin, 
" to obtain the first impression of the Allied entry in 
the town." 
For myself the day was quite uneventful, beyond 
obtaining extra scenes of the preparatory work of our 
artillery. The heavy bombardment was continuing 
with unabated fury, the horizon was black with the 
smoke of bursting high explosives, huge masses of 
shrapnel were showering their leaden messe.ngers of 
death upon the enemy. Towards evemng the 
weather changed for the worse. It began with a 
biting cold sleet, which quickly turned into snow. 
That night we slept in an old greenhouse which 
was open to the four winds of heaven. The cold was 
intense. I rolled myself up tight in my bag and 

drew my waterproof ground-sheet well over my 
body. It was a good job I did so for the ShOW was 
blowing in through the many fissures and cracks 
and settling upon me like fallen leaves in autumn. 
The heavy shelling coninued throughout the 
night. Several Bosche shells came unpleasantly 
near, shaking my rickety shelter in an alarming 
The next day the weather continued vile and the 
operations were indefinitely postponed. Therefore 
there was nothing further to do but to return 
to H.Q. 
St. Quentin, for the present, was to me a blank, 
although I had continued for some time preparing 
all the scenes leading up to its capture. 
The weathcr was changing, the ground was 
drying. Our line, just north of the town, was being 
pushed further forward. Holon-Selency, Francilly- 
Selency, Fayet and Villerete had fallen to our 
victorious troops, but the main attack was not 
To obtain scenes of out men actually in the front 
line trenches facing the town, I ruade my way 
through Savy and Savy Wood, in which hot a single 
tree was left standing by the Bosche. Through the 
wood I carefully worked forward by keeping well 
under cover of a slight rise in the ground. I met 
a battalion commander on the way who kindly 
directed me to the best path to take. 
" But be careful and keep your head down. Hun 
snipers are very active and he is putting shrapnel 
over pretty frequently. Although it doesn't hurt us 
--it evidently amuses him," he said, with a stalle. 
" There is one section where you will have to run the 
gauntlet--for you are in full view of the lines. Keep 
down as low as possible." 
I thanked the C.O. and went ahead. The weather 
was now perfect--a cloudless blue sky flecked here 

and there by the furry white halls of our bursting 
shrapnel around Hun aeroplanes, keeping them well 
above observation range. 
I noticed a flight of our men winging their way 
over enemy lines. I could hear the rapid tire of the 
Bosche anti-aircraft guns, and see their black halls 
of shrapnel burst. But our birdmen went on their 
way without a moment's hesitation. I recalled the 
time when I was up among the clouds, filming the 
Bosche lines thirteen thousand feet above mother 
Suddenly a sharp crack, crack and whir of a 
machine-gun rang out. & fight was oing on up 
there; our anti-aircraft guns ceased, being afraid 
of hitting our own men, but the Bosche still 
kept on. 
It was impossible to see the progress of the fight ; 
the whole flock was now directly overhead. VTatching 
the " strafe " with such keen interest, this point 
quite escaped me until pieces of shrapnel began fo 
fall around in alarming proportions, causng me fo 
beat a hasty retreat out of range, though I still hung 
about in the hope of a Bosche machine being 
brought down, thereby providing me with a thrilling 
scene. But it did not happen. The airmen dis- 
appeared in a southerly direction, sill fighing until 
the sharp cracks of the guns droned away in the 
In a few minutes I came in full view of one of our 
strong points in the shape of a disused quarry. 
Around the inner lip our Tommies had made a 
series of funk-holes, which looked quite picturesque 
in the bright sunlight. 
Machine-gun parties were there ready for anything 
that might turn up; in the far corner a group of 
Frenchmen were chattering volubly to a knot of 
our men. 
This certainly was a most interesting scene--the 

point of "liaison" between the two great armies, 
France and Britain. I noticed by ffesh shell-holes 
that Bosche had a rather bad habit of annoying the 
place with his pip-squeaks, but generally they only 
resulted in scoring a Blighty for more or one of the 
occupants--and, for others, they were a source of 
amusement in the shape of gambling on the spot the 
next one would fall. 
I fihned various sections here, then, having par- 
taken of a little tea, I wended my way to the 
tronches. I kept low, as the tower of the Cathedral 
was in full view. I had previously covered the 
aluminium head of my tripod with a sandbag to 
prevent it glistening in the sun. As I drew nearer 
o the trench, which I could now see quite distinctly, 
more and more of St. Quentin came into view. Such 
a picture gives one rather a queerish feeling. If a 
keen-eyed Hun observer spotted me, with my load, 
he would take me for a machine-gunner or some- 
thing equally dangerous. But, fortunately, nothing 
I drop]ed into the trench of the  Worcesters 
who were amazed and amused to see me there, as one 
of them said" 
" Well, sir, I always thought ail the War pictures 
vere fakes, but now I know they're not. 
" Will you take us, sir ? We expect to go over 
to-night. Please do, sir; our people af home 
will then in all probability see us. Don't suppose 
I shall. I have an idea I shan't--but," he said, 
p.ulling himself together, "I hope so, yer know, 
I liked the man's spirit. It caused ail the others to 
smile. I carefully fixed up my machine and filmed 
them, holding out front line. 
" How close is this to the town ? " I asked. 
" About nine hundred yards, sir." 
Whether or no± Bosche had seen movement I 

don't know, but suddenly a group of four 59 came 
crashing over. Everybody ducked--wise plan, rather, 
out herethey fell and burst about fifty yards 
behind us. I awaited the next lot ; they came very 
shortly and fell in almost the same place. 
" Before he shortens the range," I thought, " l'll 
more," and suiting the action to the word I moved 
out towards the Bois de Savy and was half-way 
there when another lot burst in my direction. This 
rime I ruade for the Bois de Holnon, and fortunately 
the shells ceased. 
As I reached the furthest side of the Bois de Savy 
several tear shells came whistling over and burst 
just behind me. Needless to say I had fallen fiat, 
and, as I arose, the sweet smell of tear gas made 
itself evident. Not intending to risk a repetition 
of my previous experience at Beaumont Hamel, I 
closed my eyes and tan like--well, you couldn't see 
me for dust. 
Yard by yard we continued to press back the 
enemy. For me the film story of the taking of St. 
Quentin is an obsession. It holds me as a needle to 
a magnet. And in this section, at the present, I 
remain--waiting and watching. 
My leave is fast running out, and I ara nearing the 
end of my story. In all the pictures that if has been 
my good fortune to take during the two and a half 
years that I bave been kept at work on the great 
European battlefield, I have always tried to re- 
member that it was through the eye of the camera, 
directed by my own sense of observation, that the 
millions of people at home would gain their only 
first-hand knowledge of what was happening at the 
I bave tried fo make my pictures actual and 
reliable, above al1 I bave striven to catch the atmo- 
sphere of the battlefield, and whilst I have dwelt 
as little as possible upon its horrors, I have aimed at 


showing the magnificent spirit which imbues our 
fighting men, from the highest in command to the 
humblest unit in the ranks. 
I ara proud to think that the task of doing this 
has been mine, and in doing it, I bave tried " to do 
my bit " for the land that gave me birth. 



Albert, 172 
Albert, King of the Belgians. 217 
Alexander of Teck, Prince, 217 
Amiens, 254 
Andrew Paul. Mayor of Bierne, 289, 
Anzacs, the. 211 
Armentières, io8 
Arras. 83. lO8. 293 
Aubers Ridge. 114 
Australians, the, 197, 198 
Babin, M. Gustave, of L'Illust»'a- 
tion. 299 
Bailleul, 52 
Bapaume, 25o 
Basle, 41 
Beaumont Hamel, 124, 129, 165, 
2o8, 245. 265, 3o3 
Bécourt ,Vood. 172, 176, 197 
Bdfort, 42 
Belgians. Queen of. 217, 218 
Bernafay Wood. 186, 188 
Besançon, 42, 47 
Biaches, 254 
Bid, 41 
Bierne. 277. 284. 289 
Bizantin-le-Grand, 19o 
Bois de Holnon. 294, 303 
Bois de Savy, 3oo, 3o 3 
Boulogne, 2o5-7, 253, 254 
Boule_aux XVood, 24o 
Bouvais, z95 
Bovincourt, 270, 271,274, 275. 277, 
279-84, 289 
Brie, 263. 267. 269. 272. 274. 276 
Brooks, Lieut.. Official " Still " 
Photographer, 259-65, 275 
Burstall, General, 218 
Calais, 219--.-21 
Cambrai. 259 
Canadians, the, 52-6o, 218 

Carnoy Vailey, 184 
Caulaincourt, 294 
Cavan. Earl of. 63, 76, 77 
Clarendon Film Co., the, 5 
Contalmaison, 199, 2Ol-2O3 

Delemont. 41 
Delville XVood, 238 
Dieppe. 48 
Dijon. 47 
Dinorah. S.S.. the. 48 
Dixmude. 31 
Dunkirk, 111 

Estrées, 259, 271, 276 
Fayet, 3oo 
Festubert. lO8, x14 
Foch. Gen., 215 
Folkestone, 251 
Foscaucourt. 259 
Foucacourt, 276 
Francilly-Selency. 30o 
Fricourt, 171, 208, 209. 2I 2 
Fromelles. 114 
Fumes, 6, 8, 13, 15. 21, 29. 30, 38 


Gaumont Co., the, 5 
George V-- 
his approval of Somme film, 177 
arrival af Boulogne, 206, 2o 7 
attends Divine Serviceæ 217 
on Battlefield of Fricourt, 208- 
being filmed, 216 
his departure from France, 22o, 
greets Sir H. 1Rawlinson. 208 
af hospitals. 212 
inspects Canadians, 218 



George V 
meets M. Poincaré and Gen. 
Joflre, 215, 216 
and puppy, 212, 213 
visits King of the Belgians. 21 
George. David Lloyd, Prime Min- 
ister, 177, 216, 217 
Givenchy. Io8 
Gommecourt. 123 
Gouerment, 122 
Goumiers, the (Algerian Arabs), 
Guards' Division. the, 61, 63. 65-71. 
76-79, 234. 
Guillemont, 135, 234, -36, 238 
Gully Ravine, 136 
Haig( Field-Marshal Sir Douglas. 
2o7. 208. 214-I6 
Haucourt. 277 
Hawthorn Reboubt. the, 41, 159 
ltill 60, 
Hill 63. 56-58 
Hindenburg. General, 293 
" llindenburg Line." the, 259, 292, 
293, 298 
tfohenzollern Redoubt, the, lO8 
Holon-Selency, 30o 
.|offre, General. 214-216 
Josephine. Princess. 218 
Jury, Mr. Will, 176 
Keppel, Sir Derek, 2o 7 
Kinematograph Trade Topical 
Committee. the. 51 
" King George's Hill." 209 
Kitchener, Earl of, 206 
La Bassée. 65, 72, 114, I 15 
La Boisselle. 17 
La Gorgue. 
La Maisonnette, Château of, 255 
Lancashire Fusiliers, the. 12 7, 152, 
Lancers, ITth. the, 2I 4 
Lens. 293 
Les Boeufs, 234, 239, 245 
London Scottish, the. I22, 234 
Loos, 1o4, Io8. 114 
Lueze Wcod, 238 

Malins, Lieut. Geof6rey H.. 
appointed Official War Office 
Kinematographer, 51 
arrested in Switzerland. 41 
af Battle of St. Eloi. 85-92 
on battlefield of Neuve Chapelle, 
with Belgian Army, 6-13. 3o-39 
in bombardment of Furnes, 31 
with Canadians, 52-6o 
his description of preparation of 
film. 178-182 
experiences in aeroplane, lO7-I 20 
films Battle of the Somme, 121- 
with Goumiers, near Nieuport, 
1 ç-21 
with Guards' Division. 65-71 
his lire be/ore the War. 
narrow escapes of. 93-Io6, 142- 
at Pozières and Contalmaison, 
and Prince of Wales. 77, 2o7, 212 
at Ramscapelle, 32-34 
reported dead. 38 
spends Christmas af the Front, 
and Tanks, 222 
on tracks of retreating Huns. z 54- 
in Trones Wood. 183-195 
views battle o! sand-dunes. 22-9 
visits ruins of Guillemont and 
Mouquet Farm. 234-25o 
on Vosges Mountains. 4o-48 
on Western Front with the King, 
2o5-22 I 
at Ypres and Arras. 8e-84 
Mametz. 171 
Martinpuich, battle of. 234 
Messines. 52. 54. 113 
Middlesex Regt., the, 152 
Mons, 136 
Morts en Chaussée. 269, 
Montaubon. 186 
Morval, 234. 239, 245 
Mouquet Farm. 24, 247, 248 


Neuve Chapelle. 72, 73, lO8, t 14 
Nieuport. I5. 3I 
Nieupcrt Bain, 22, 23 
Norfolks, the, 234 

INDEX 3o7 

North Staffordshire Regt., the, 206 
Northumberland Fusiliers, the, 218 

Oost-Dunkerq ue, 22 
Ostend, i 11 
Peronne, 254-258 
Perrontruy, 41 
Petite Douve, 56, 58, 60 
Ploegsteert, lO8, 114 
Ploegsteert \Vood, 53, 56 
Ploeg,trathe, 52 
Poincar6, President, 214-216 
Pouilly, 279, 294 
Pozières. 197, 198, 2Ol-2O3, 211, 
Ramscapelle, 6, 12. 31-33 
Rawlinson, General Sir H. S., 136, 
Remiremont, 42 
Richebourg, IO8 
Richebourg St. Vaast. 55 
Royal Engineers, West Riding 
Field Co.. 136 
Royal Fusiliers. the, 136, 137, 152 
Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the. 65 

St. Di6, 40, 42, 43, 47 
St. Eloi, lO8, 113 
St. Eloi. ]attle of. 89-92, 218 
St. Quentin, 259, 267, 293,294, 296- 
Savy, 3oo 
Somme, River. 255, 263 , 265-267 , 
275, 294 
Somme t3attle, film of, 176-178, 
183, 223 

Stamfordham, Lord, 2o7 
Suffçlks, the, 234 

Tanks, the, 225, 229-233. 237, 240 
Tardeau, M., of Echo de 
Paris, 299 
Thiepval, 245 
Thompson, Major. 207 
Tong, MI., 51 . 52.64 
Trones Wood, 184, 186, 19o, 192, 

Uhlans, the, 32 



Vernilles, 132 
Villerete. 300 
Villers-Carbonel. 259-266, 276 
Vimy Ridge, 293 
Vosges, the. 4o, 47. 5 I 
Vraignes, 270, 275, 277, 281 

Wales, Edward. Prince of--- 
his anxiety to avoid camera, 77, 
attends service on Christmas Day, 
cheered by Tommies. 211 
and General Foch, 216 
in German trench, 2io, 21i 
inspects gun-pits, 77 
meets King George at t3oulogne, 
takes leave of King George, 220 
Wigram, Lieut.-Col. Clive, 207, 216, 
Ypres. 55, 75, 80-83, 111, 112, 253